Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Europe

Draghi leaves NATO summit early to deal with domestic woes

ROME — Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi left the NATO summit in Madrid early to attend a Cabinet meeting in Rome amid tensions in his governing coalition.

Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who heads the 5Star Movement, has accused Draghi of attempting to have him removed as party leader and of trying to push the 5Stars out of the coalition. 

The two sides are at odds because of the 5Stars’ opposition to sending more arms to Ukraine, a controversial stance that last week led to a split in the party.

The 5Stars claim that Draghi criticized Conte in phone calls with the founder of the movement, comedian Beppe Grillo, and claim that Draghi put pressure on Grillo to replace Conte.

Conte, speaking to journalists in Rome on Wednesday, said he was “disconcerted” by the calls and accused Draghi of “interfering in the internal matters of a party that supports him.” Conte said that if Draghi wanted to kick the 5Stars out of the coalition, “you have to tell me.”

Conte said he had reported the matter to President Sergio Mattarella, who appoints prime ministers and is the ultimate political referee.

A 5Stars insider said that many of its lawmakers want to leave the coalition but, for now at least, the party will remain in government.

Officials close to Draghi denied that he asked Grillo to remove Conte. Speaking at a press conference in Madrid, Draghi said he had spoken to Conte and that the government “is not at risk.” The prime minister left Madrid on Wednesday night, a day before the NATO conference was set to wind up.

An Italian official said that Draghi planned to leave the NATO conference early anyway, to be at Cabinet for discussions on energy prices and the cost of living crisis.  

Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who led the split from 5Stars last week in protest at the party’s stance on arming Ukraine, complained about those who “while the Italian government is engaged in important international summits, do nothing but feed tensions with surreal debates and statements, which clearly threaten the effectiveness of the executive.” 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Wednesday that Italy “will be supplying” Ukraine with heavy weapons “similar” to the howitzers that Germany and the Netherlands are sending to the country.

Conflict in the coalition is expected to increase as the far-right League and the 5Stars, both bruised by poor results in local elections last week, attempt to reassert their political identities ahead of a general election scheduled for next year.

The coalition is divided over proposed legislation to give citizenship to around a million Italian-born children of immigrants. Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-immigration League, said the left’s proposals were putting the governing majority and executive at risk at a time of crisis.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like

Europe

BERLIN — Ammunition running low, fighter jet purchases possibly delayed, defense spending promises missed. Germany’s grand ambitions to become Europe’s military power are off...

Europe

Jamie Dettmer is opinion editor at POLITICO Europe.    “War is organized confusion,” observed one of General Dwight Eisenhower’s deputies in northwest Europe after the...

Europe

Congratulations, Dr. McGuinness, on your appointment as executive director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). ECHA plays a central role in the implementation of...

Europe

The real chancellor Doer No. 1 — Germany When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, one question emerged immediately: What will Europe do? To answer...

Europe

The European Overall No. 1 — Ukraine Europe is changing. The Continent is reassessing its strategic relationships, getting serious about defense, rethinking policies on...

Europe

The U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Julianne Smith, said she was “not worried” about former President Donald Trump’s possible return to...

Energy

The EU must avoid the “slippery road” of protectionism as it enters a fractious industrial showdown with the United States, European Parliament President Roberta...

Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday he looked forward to “peacetime” for his country next year, while his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin warned the...