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At age of 82, Silvio Berlusconi announces his return to Italian politics

He will run as a candidate for his center-right Forza Italia party, which, since its heyday in the 90s, has lost massive amounts of votes in the polls. ... With my knowledge, my experience and my ability to convince people, I can play an important role and make European citizens understand that we risk moving away from Western values." This time, he said he's entering politics to stop the present Italian government from gaining more votes in the European Parliament - mainly in an attempt to slow down the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, a political party that he has repeatedly called "dangerous," "inexperienced" and "incompetent." The Five Star Movement, however, shares government power with the right-wing, anti-migrant and Eurosceptic Northern League Party, which used to partner with Berlusconi in the government. The League continues to rise and lead in the polls, outstripping Five Star with more than an estimated 30 percent of the votes. "The united #RightCenter is a winner: with its values and its ideals, it is the future of Italy, Europe and the world," Berlusconi wrote on Twitter on Friday. In a letter to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday, Berlusconi expressed his desire to return to Catholic and liberal politics harking back to the Italian political scene after World War II. Since stepping down as prime minister in 2011 and multiple court cases - including a conviction of tax fraud in 2013, which expelled him from parliament and banned him from public office - he has continued to work behind the scenes in Italian politics. Reaction to the news that Berlusconi was running in the European elections were mixed, with some TV commentators on Thursday complimenting him on his "courage" and others dismissing it as delusional move. However, political analysts believe that his running in EU elections could still mean a 5 percent increase of votes for his waning Forza Italia party, which could give the wily politician a political bartering tool going forward.

Three thoughts on the politics of Italy’s cities

1) In a divided country, top-down policy-making is increasingly inadequate Like the UK, Italy also has a North-South divide. The Five Star Movement is now the party of the less successful South, where unemployment and low wages are the main issues. But it could also mean that national policy becomes the sum of different disjointed economic policies rather than a coherent economic strategy. For example, the agreement between the two populist parties proposes both a basic income, a policy of the Five Star Movement, and a flat tax, a policy of the League. 2) But Italian cities are better placed than UK cities to overcome national political gridlock In Britain, since the vote for Brexit, many major policy issues have been put to one side so that the government can get on with negotiations with the EU, including the city region devolution agenda. Both of these factors have contributed to gridlock and stasis at the national political level, and a lack of clear policy direction for the government. Despite the progress made in city region devolution in the UK over recent years, urban areas across the country still lack the powers and resources they need to grow their economies. 3) Mainstream parties should not take cities for granted While populist parties have made gains across Italy, the centre-left and left remain mainly in charge of large cities (Milan, Naples, Palermo) with the centre-right keeping control of a few others (Genoa, Venezia). Firstly, there is no room for complacency among mayors and other city leaders, who need to deliver on their economic agenda and make the most of their mandate to avoid the kind of backlash against mainstream parties seen in Italian cities. This needs to change if people and places across the country are to prosper.

Spain offers to take in migrant ship marooned by Italian politics

ROME, Italy (AFP) — Spain offered Monday to take in a ship stranded in the Mediterranean with 629 migrants aboard after Italy and Malta refused to let the vessel dock in their ports. The migrants, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by the French charity SOS Mediterranee on Saturday. “The prime minister has given instructions for Spain to honor international commitments on humanitarian crises and announced that the country will receive the ship Aquarius,” his office said in a statement. “The priority of both the Italian and Maltese authorities should be ensuring these people receive the care they need,” European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters, calling for a “swift resolution.” Italy’s refusal to take in the migrants is the first sign of the new government’s hardened stance on immigration. Its far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini showed no sign of backing down on Monday. “Saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not. Italy is done bending over backwards and obeying, this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO,” he wrote on Twitter followed by the hashtag #closethedoors. ‘Vulnerable patients at risk’ “We haven’t moved since last night, people are starting to wonder why we’ve stopped,” journalist Anelise Borges, who is aboard the Aquarius, said in a tweet. We need to have an idea of what port to go to, something that up to now we haven’t had,” Aquarius crew member Alessandro Porro told news channel Sky TG24 on Sunday. The French organization said those brought on board included 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 small children and the seven pregnant women.

Italian Politics Offers Strange Reassurances Beyond This New Government

Italy has a new government. A few days ago, markets sold off violently on fears that a new election would produce a still more populist government and that might take Italy out of the Eurozone or even the European Union (EU). But Italy and all those who worry about its moves have a strange source of reassurance. These fractured politics show even within the coalition. When they first began talks for coalition, their proposals reflected these differences with the League’s cut in taxes to a flat 15 percent rate incongruously joined to the Movement’s guaranteed income for all Italians. Still, not yet sure that the coalition would actually get to govern or that it could implement such ambitious programs, markets moderated what could have been a fearful response. At its lows, the euro had lost almost 7% against the dollar from its early-May levels. The strange joining of the League and the 5-Star Movement to attempt minority government as much as announced that whatever they could arrange would not last long, especially if they tried to implement ambitious policies that might unite an opposition, if only for one vote. It is not even apparent that the League and the 5-Star Movement will govern for very long. Continued from page 1 Tweet This Ezrati writes on markets, economics, and is senior economist for the NY communications firm, Vested https://fullyvested.com.

Uncertain Times For Italian Politics: Questions And Watch Points

Unsurprisingly, with the possibility of another election in the cards, market sentiment has shifted to risk-off in light of the political uncertainty. Three questions for Italy going forward Against the backdrop of the latest polling data, it is really hard to predict what will happen next in the political arena. What's in the cards for financial markets? Currently, we think the political risks are growing, incrementally pushing our cycle score deeper into negative territory. Combined, our building blocks have triggered a move from an underweight position to neutral for Italian government bonds, but are not yet telling us it's time to move to an overweight. The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual entity. As with any type of portfolio structuring, attempting to reduce risk and increase return could, at certain times, unintentionally reduce returns. Investments that are allocated across multiple types of securities may be exposed to a variety of risks based on the asset classes, investment styles, market sectors, and size of companies preferred by the investment managers. Neither Russell Investments nor its affiliates are responsible for investment decisions with respect to such investments or for the accuracy or completeness of information about such investments. This is a publication of Russell Investments.

EUR/USD Weighed Down by Italian Politics

Italian political uncertainty spurred fresh euro selling in European trading on Tuesday, with the single currency declining against all of its major counterparts. EUR/USD hit a low of 1.1510 in early trading, while GBP/USD reached a six-month low near 1.32 prior to finding some buyers. Expectations have been pushed back, with the markets abandoning the view of synchronized global tightening and not looking for a 10-basis-point hike until October next year. The latest Commitment of Traders (COT) report revealed that the net long euro position held among non-commercials declined for a fifth consecutive week. However, euro gross longs remain essentially unchanged when compared with COT data released at the start of the month. With euro bears dominating positioning shifts in the single currency, EUR/USD remains at risk of a short squeeze, even though the single currency is already on track to post the worst performance among the majors this month. This week's market-moving economic release will likely be the U.S. jobs report, scheduled for release in early North American trading on Friday. Other notable releases this week include preliminary U.S. GDP data as well as European retail sales and inflation data. From a technical perspective, EUR/USD is approaching major support found on larger time frames. The 100-period and 200-period weekly moving averages are found at 1.1409 and 1.1429, respectively.

Here’s why markets are worried about Italian politics — again

Italy’s politicians didn’t get a three-day weekend, but instead stayed active and helped spark selling for stocks and other riskier assets. Investors on Tuesday are worried about the potential for another Italian election within a few months. In particular, they’re worried a win for populist parties could lead to the euro zone’s third-biggest economy leaving the shared currency — which would represent quite a shakeup to Europe’s status quo. That election looks to be in the cards, as an attempt to form a caretaker government led by International Monetary Fund veteran Carlo Cottarelli faces resistance. Cottarelli was put into that role on Monday by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who had essentially blocked a coalition government of two big antiestablishment parties — the 5 Star Movement and the League. “It won’t be an election,” Salvini said Sunday, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “Even an Italian populist government’s failed attempt to ditch the euro would bring a halt to not only the ‘euroboom,’ but also the process of U.S. monetary normalization, with the market reaction comparable to the eurozone debt crisis,” Oxford Economics analysts Jamie Thomson and Nicola Nobile said in a recent note. Other analysts suggest fears about a “Quitaly” or “Italexit” scenario may be overblown. “According to the European Commission’s Eurobarometer survey, support for the euro in Italy has never been below 58%, and most recently was 59%, with only 31% opposed.” Check out: 4 ways the ECB is preventing an Italian rerun of the euro crisis — for now But Gittler still sounds bearish on the unit: “Nonetheless, currencies have to price in risk, and Italian politics is the big risk nowadays. Italian bond moves are largely isolated, but contagion risks are mounting.” How are markets moving?

Italy’s likely PM: entering the messy world of Italian politics

Giuseppe Conte: respected in legal and academic circles, can he survive in government? The man nominated as Italy’s prime minister on Wednesday may be respected in the legal and academic realms, but he is far removed from the complex, messy world of Italian politics – something that is of mounting concern to his parents. “He is already very important in his career, but look what happens when you get into politics: they throw mud.” There was a lot of mud thrown this week when Giuseppe Conte (53) emerged as the surprise pick to lead a coalition of Luigi Di Maio’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League, headed up by Matteo Salvini. The lawyer and professor at the University of Florence was accused of embellishing his university studies on his CV, while reports emerged that he had supported Stamina, a discredited stem cell therapy invented by the disgraced former professor Davide Vannoni. Beppe Grillo, the comedian who founded M5S, slammed the claims as “malicious gossip”. Patrizia Giunti, a friend and colleague at the University of Florence, described Conte as “attentive, generous and very graceful”. Childhood friend Antonio Placentino told local reporters that he “studied hard at school and was very reserved”. Conte graduated from Rome’s Sapienza University in 1988 and now lives in the capital, where he runs a law firm. He is an expert in arbitration, particularly in the areas of civil and commercial law. Conte came into contact with M5S in 2013, the year the party entered parliament for the first time, when he was asked to become a member of its council for administrative law.

‘They throw mud’: new PM facing up to messy world of Italian politics

The man nominated as Italy’s prime minister may be respected in the legal and academic realms but he is far-removed from the complex, messy world of Italian politics - something that is of mounting concern to his parents. “He is already very important in his career, but look what happens when you get into politics: they throw mud.” There was a lot of mud thrown this week when Giuseppe Conte, 53, emerged as the surprise pick to lead a coalition of Luigi Di Maio’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League, headed up by Matteo Salvini. The lawyer and professor at the University of Florence was accused of embellishing his university studies on his CV, while reports emerged that he had supported Stamina, a discredited stem cell therapy invented by the disgraced former professor Davide Vannoni. Italy's president invites populist coalition to form government Read more Beppe Grillo, the comedian who founded M5S, slammed the claims as “malicious gossip”. “He’s much loved by his students,” Giunti told the Guardian. Childhood friend Antonio Placentino told local reporters that he “studied hard at school and was very reserved”. Conte graduated from Rome’s Sapienza University in 1988 and now lives in the capital, where he runs a law firm. He is an expert in arbitration, particularly in the areas of civil and commercial law. Between 2012 and 2015 he served on the board of the Italian Space Agency. Conte came into contact with M5S in 2013, the year the party entered parliament for the first time, when he was asked to become a member of its council for administrative law.

European stocks finish slightly lower as traders watch Italian politics

Reuters European stocks closed mostly lower Monday, with investors tracking developments in Italian politics after two populist parties said they had reached a deal to form a new government. What are markets doing? The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.05% slipped less than 0.1% to close at 392.19, edging back after scoring its longest weekly winning run since March 2015 last week. What is driving the market? Italy was the major focus in Europe on Monday after antiestablishment 5 Star Movement and hard-right League party over the weekend reportedly reached a deal on forming a governing coalition. The new government—expected to be announced in coming days—would end more than two months of political deadlock in Italy after the country’s general election in early March produced an inconclusive result. Trade talks between the U.S. and China were also in the limelight on Monday. What are strategists saying? “There is the clear positive to an end of over two months of political gridlock [in Italy]; however, there is a glaring negative in that such a coalition could impact on Italy’s relationship with the European Union, potentially throwing Italy’s slowly recovering economy into disarray,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, in a note. “Anticipated measures include renegotiations of EU accords with a tougher stance, although a full-blown withdrawal from the European Union does not appear to be on the cards, which goes some way to explaining the inexistent response from the euro,” he added.