UPDATE 22/05/2018: It’s taken almost two months of backroom wrangling and fought coalition negotiations, but it looks like Italy is finally about to get a new government. Giuseppe Conte, a lawyer and professor of law (labelled a “political novice” by the media) has been nominated as the preferred choice for prime minister by both the Five Star Movement and the League.

If confirmed, Prime Minister Conte would represent a massive headache for the more fiscally-conservative members of the European Union. Italy’s new coalition government would presumably pursue a more expansionary fiscal policy (spending more and cutting taxes), and would push for a significant write-down of Italian debt. There were similar concerns when the radical left SYRIZA was elected in Greece in 2015, and ultimately a compromise was reached in that case. However, Greece represents roughly 1% of the EU economy. Italy, on the other hand, is the fourth-largest economy in the European Union. The threat to the Eurozone of a bust-up between Member States is surely much more significant today.

So, what happens now? Is a more Eurosceptic, pro-growth Member State exactly what the European Union needs to give it a kick in the pants? Could a more populist coalition government in Italy help promote reforms across the bloc? Or Is Italy now on a collision course with the more fiscally-conservative EU states? Let us know your thoughts and comments below!

ORIGINAL 06/03/2018: A pox on both your houses! That was basically the message from Italian voters as they rejected the political mainstream. Instead, so-called populist, anti-establishment parties managed to bag fully half of all votes cast.

The biggest single winner was the populist Five Star Movement with over 32% of the vote. However, the right-wing coalition of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and the anti-immigration Lega Nord (recently rechristened as just “the Lega”) came in first with 37%. In one of the biggest upsets of the night, Matteo Salvini’s Lega is now the senior partner in the right-wing coalition with 17% of the vote compared to Forza Italia’s 14%. Salvini argues that the result gives him a mandate to form a government as Italy’s next prime minister (a possibility which has other European governments quaking in their boots).

The populists cannot be ignored any longer. Unlike in Germany (which recently announced a new government), the electoral mathematics do not support a “grand coalition” of the centre. Instead, any governing alliance will need to draw support from either the Lega or the Five Star Movement. A deal between the two biggest populist parties has apparently been ruled out by Salvini.

What does this mean for Europe? It will likely take weeks of negotiations (and possibly another election) before Italy can form a government. Is the EU ready for Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, a man who once called the euro a “crime against humanity” and has pledged to begin the mass deportation of half a million people when in office?

Are the Italian election results a disaster for Europe? Will Italy need to hold a new election, or can a government be formed? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) BigStock – AlexRotenberg

64 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Doru

    Definitely not! Disaster for Europe is only the LEFT wing is in power!

    • Zara

      But but the left havnt been in power for quite some time sooooo

    • Geoffrey

      Nationalism is a poison!

    • Ivan

      @Geoffrey What is ‘Europeanism’ if not a new fake Nationalism ? 7 billion people on the planet disagree with you, as it crossed your fanatical mind you might be wrong ?

    • Fabio

      Why Italian left wing should be a problem to Europe unity? Tell me what are their points about leaving Europe

    • Yannick

      In my opinion right wing tend to cling to a romantic version of the past and typically fail to acknowledge and deal with the real problems, which admittedly in this case (and increasingly everywhere) have roots beyond European, let alone national, borders. But ignoring problems usually makes them worse, except perhaps for a rich minority, who seems to always benefit from short-termist right wing policies.

    • Doru

      @Zara They never should be in power!

    • Doru

      @Fabio Left wing always was a problem anywhere! They ruined everything! No extremist party anywhere! The communist are extremists!

    • Ivan

      @Yannick The problem is the EU and people are no longer ignoring it which is why so called populist parties are winning.

    • Stephen

      @Geoffrey the EU dictatorship is the poison

    • Wendy

      @Yannick. Clinging to an idea of the past that actually worked better than what we have now is not romantic it is common sense. Multiculturalism is a failed experiment that has divided societies into separate culture bubbles and we now see gang warfare between these different cultures, young people being murdered every day and no-go areas that exclude people from other cultures.
      What was designed to make us all feel “European” has made us form into packs and turn on each other.
      There will be nothing but strife until people have their national identity returned to them and until immigrants adopt that identity and integrate.

    • Karolina

      Surely, fake nationalism is the most harmless nationalism there can be because it is not actual nationalism!

      And being fanatical anti-nationalist is actually a good thing!

      Keep your brain fully engaged and don’t let the Kremlin propaganda machine fool you.

  2. Nacho

    Not at all… Unemployment rates, poverty, massive immigration without assimilation (I’m not against immigration, just against massive immigration, because is unsustainable), terrorism, high sovereign debts… are the real disasters for Europe…
    I’m not such a fan of the alt rigth, but after years and years of economic, political and social crisis I don’t know why everybody is suddenly so surprised with those parties… What did you expect?
    I think is almost impossible to make things worse than they have been doing it these years…

    • Leonardo

      I think you might be surprised..

    • Nacho

      @Leonardo No, I’m tired. I don’t like alt rigth parties, but I think Europe is living in a permanent disaster since longtime ago, so I don’t know why should we be worried now, when we are facing lot of problems since longtime ago, and without any alt rigth party… If alt rigth parties are a problem, are just another one, but I don’t think we should be especially worried because of them, when there are many other problems. Maybe some European leaders should think why are those parties reaching more and more power everyday…

    • Ivan

      Leonardo Monteiro Socialism / Communism / Marxism / National socialism are cancer to any Nation that tries it. The EU is in a death spiral, you pro EU fanatics just don’t know it yet. :)

  3. Ivan

    It is a disaster for the ‘EU’, Europe and democracy on the other hand are the winners :)

  4. Dietmar

    more and more countries will stand up against puppets like the new messias “Macron” yesterday it was Tschipras – and look what´s happened : no one needs such puppets.

    April 8. Hungary will go in the 3. period with Fidesz why? because there is no one more authentic in politics like Orbán Viktor.

    And if you do not trust? Take a look at state debts since 2010 ..

  5. Matej

    If you’re concerned about the well being of EU countries, I suggest you take a look at Sweden for a bit

  6. Geoffrey

    Not a disaster at all. Only a Nationalism bump. Nothing will change for Italy with this election.

    • Ivan

      As long as they are trapped in the job destroying Euro and the pointless EU you are right, nothing will change. Fortunately the EU is collapsing so it won’t be a problem for much longer. :)

    • Fabio

      Quite true, they are in a stand off for creating coalitions. It means they ll have to meet half way and be more moderate. The system is probably going to be more slow and stagnating then before

    • Geoffrey

      So Ivan…how is the EU destroying jobs?

    • Geoffrey

      @Fabio… coalitions are good….and the middle road is productive and good for all. If people can just only think of left, right, black, white, up, down….they will go nowhere. So, yes, coalitions and compromise on a common path forward is more fruitful that one absolute….or another.

  7. An

    No. They are not right wing. They are ignorant populists and they won becaise the left wing populists did a bad job.

    • Dario

      Exactly…I’m Italian and I know that!

  8. Moreno

    I don’t think it is a disaster. Italy is not leaving EU, notwithstanding it is difficult to say what will happen now.

  9. Oli

    the last policies of the european union have been disasters for Europe. Do not blame italians, too easy. the message is clear: CHANGE your polciies.

  10. Fabio

    I think Europe problem are the economical selfish decision made. We could be the most democratic and prosperous economical union. But every country wants to decide by it self and they don’t really want to solve problems in a constructive way.

    • Ivan

      National politicians answer to the people who voted for them not to people in other Nations, something pro EU fanatics will learn when Brussels tries to fill the hole in its budget when the British people stop funding it. Most countries have already said they will not make up the shortfall of 15 billion a year so it should be interesting to see how the unelected European Politburo tries to force them to.

    • Nacho

      The main problem is that they wanted to create more than a Union, a Federal Europe, and in a very fast way… We can be a cooperative Union, but some EU politicians are out of the reality. We are different countries, with different economies and, although we have similar problems, they affect us in a different way, so we can’t just apply the same solutions for us all and we can’t just force people to accept “solutions” that are not going to improve their wellfare or their quality of life… Cooperation is needed, but impossition only makes people get angry and react…

    • Fabio

      But emergencies like mass migration aren’t faced with cohesion. I talked too generally about individualism

  11. Alex

    The real question is: is the EU a disaster for Europe? The answer is yes!

    • Florin


    • Alex

      Because the EU is all about overcoming national constitutions. It is all about banks and Single Market and a systematic destruction of the welfare state.

    • Aris

      Alex Lomoro if you have a better solution in order to keep peace among 20-30 small, medium and big European countries I would like to listen to.
      The European continent without EU would be worst than the Middle East. Various European states shared to influence zones of the USA, Russia, and China fighting between them over borders, nationalism and different economic interests.
      EU is not perfect but it is the best we have in order to keep Peace and Human Rights to our countries.

    • Alex

      The EU is not the best. I agree to create a strong Europe. But this institutional architecture has no democratic base. Its funded on delegation of delegation of delegation of power which ends up in the big money pockets. Anti-EU sentiment is growing because the crisis hit the people meanwhile the EU has only restrictions and not safety-net.

  12. Franco

    Italian elections results are a disaster for Italy.

  13. Christophe

    My prediction has come true.. Expect a contagion effect for the better. The EU tried to destroy National sovereignty and the people have spoken. Like the Messiah taking the message to the Nations.. He knew.

  14. Jorge

    This results are, at the moment, a disaster for Italy. It will depend on the government that, in the future, the political forces can create in Italy but the fundamental problem in that country is to create a stable government so I wouldn’t be so worried about the fact because, firstly, they need to have a government!

  15. Antonio

    Reading some of the comments one could have the idea that perhaps we could from now on skip elections and leave the “wise” non elected politicians rule as they see fit for the populace…:-(
    The result of italian elections, as those from other countries are the consequence of all the mistakes being done by those who have been rulling Europe in the past twenty years. If they insist on ignoring people’s expectations, they’ll be saked, sooner or later. We want an Europe protecting the citizens not the corporations and the banks.
    They sowed the seeds now it is time to harvest what they have sown…

  16. Jason

    EU beureaucrat muppets who take orders from the ECB are freaking out. ECB is calm however.

  17. SAL Benavides

    Only hope now is 5star+PD alliance, i dont see it happening so yes, disaster for europe…

  18. Aris

    EU has to deal with her Ghosts.. or more and more populist and far-right political parties will win the elections.
    The fact that some European countries develop faster and become richer than other members is something negative.
    Finally, the immigrant crisis will wake up the sleepy Dragon of Europe, the European Nationalism.
    Hosting millions of unknown immigrants who walk here and there, sleeping in parks and abandon buildings, from a different Cultural World is something that the European citizens do not agree to. Human Rights and Asylum policies have their limits and the Governors should understand that before it is too late to reverse the situation.

  19. ironworker

    Are the Italian election results a disaster for Europe?

    Depend on what “Europe” you are referring. Now, what are you expecting after all these years of “that Europe”? Thank you for asking, though.

  20. Giorgos

    This is not Europe this is the capital of 4 rahi of Germany….The capital of fasism

  21. Marco

    It’s a disaster for Italy, not just for Europe

  22. Argyris

    Just wait to see the Greek Elections 2019 and then talk about disaster for Europe !

  23. merkurio

    Great results. Welcome back to the fight, Italy.

  24. Paul X

    The Italian elections will have no direct impact on Europe…but they may well have an impact on the EU which by its nature will ensure the repercussions are felt throughout it’s member states

  25. randomguy2017

    the EU is a disaster for Europe.
    Likely Italy will still stay in EU.

    The Southern countries are struggling economically. Look at debt, unemployment. Of course they have a right to dislike the Frankish EU.

    The North countries are so removed from my political views. Quite frankly I dont care what happens there.

    The Western is suiciding itself, (quite frankly it started around the 1960s).
    Its cultural values have been dying for some time, replaced by New Left, PC on steriods, and mass immigration)

    Central/East have lunatic position on Russia (anyone who doesnt hate Russia is some sort of a “Russian agent”).

    Europe is turning less Europe in almost every way. Low fertility rates, replacement by foreigners, leaders who dont care bout people. The elites preach about tolerance and equality while they hate on certain countries with real values.

    All the establishments in the West are either insane or bad.
    I dont even vote, cause all the parties are bad.

    If a party does too much good, then comes CIA or Biden telephone calls to change the direction.

    I wonder if this post will pass.

  26. EU Reform- Proactive

    It took Merkel 86 days to form her Government! Italy’s average is 51 days.

    Who is going to beat the German record? It is the “EU factor” which challenges all 27 Nations to an “Olympiad in forming governments”! Who is more “inspired” to produce “new records” this year?

    Is that a meaningful future trajectory within the EU?


  27. catherine benning


    It is very sad for the Italians that they chose to simply take a step to reveal their need to be taken seriously in their country. Not only Italians in their country but Europeans across the entire continent.

    And, this vote they have taken will get them nowhere. The EU Globalists will simply breathe deeply and change the laws to deselect the possibility of change from their policies. Just as that is what is going to happen to the German people now that Merkel has persuaded the weaker members to bend to her will. She has bought them off for now, but, there will be no payment to them. The Germans too have to decide whether they are in for cultural and social suicide or they are not. They cannot paddle on the edge of a Tsunami. It does not take prisoners.

    Italy just don’t believe this is what is happening to them.


  28. Karolina

    No, I don’t think they are. However, they are a vote of protest against how things have been handled recently. The continent is definitely going through a crisis and people’s concerns should be taken into consideration before we can move forward.

  29. eusebio manuel vestias vestias

    This is the central issue for many EU countries If flexibility had been implemented in Italy along with security measures the result would not have been seen in elections

  30. Tom

    Yes is a problem for EU. Becouse the policy of EU isn’t friend of italian economy. And if Italy go down the EU project go down. We need a social and industrial economy more european, becouse the italian salary in 18 years was destroied whit euro, like the italian production have many problem for the low cost of work in est-eu. I’m for EU but if it not have a change, italy will go out.

  31. kevin

    The EU has been a disaster for Europe not National elections .Should have just kept it as the EEC ,a trade block for the relatively equal western economies . The end of the EU started with its expansion eastwards and its political intrusion of democratic Nations . All are now moving to Nationalism and right wing parties. Something that the founders believed the organisation would prevent .

  32. Matteo Biesemans

    My opinion about the Italian elections of 4 March is really divided. On the one hand it’s unthinkable that a right (or even far) wing and a populist party would take over the wheel from the Democratic party. If we look back at last elections of 2013 we see that the Democrats were the main leaders almost all Italy, and now they are the big losers and lost in every region!
    Secondly, the youth and immigration were the main topics during the campaign of every party. The youth want to have a future in Italy and to have a well-paid job, which is not always the case, and that is why a lot of young Italians leave their homeland to emigrate to a foreign country like the UK, Belgium or even further. Italy struggles with it, and also with immigration. Yearly there are thousands and thousands of migrants who leave Africa to join Europe who they see as the “promised land”. Sometimes they have the fortune to find an asylum or to arrive at their destination.
    Alright, to turn back to the Italian elections, the Italians wanted a drastic changed and that’s why they chose for the “5 Star Movement” (Movimento 5 Stelle, party of Luigi Di Maio) and the (far) right coalition of “Forza Italia” (party of Silvio Berlusconi) and “La Lega” (party of Matteo Salvini).

  33. Paul Vermeesch

    Indeed the European commission need a kick in here pants it is to long ago that they did something for the normal working people only the people with lot of money and power got presents.

  34. Ogwanambe Batounga

    Italians were ok with their lira.
    You wanted Italy in the EU? Ok, that’s the result of having the once-7th world power reduced to a 3rd-world country.
    I know no italians happy of having euros instead of liras in their pockets.
    The entire situation follows this tragic premise. I think i will go back to Nigeria as soon as possible. Bye bye, poor Italy.

  35. Gian

    For those that speak about Left wing….i can say that left has been a disaster everywhere it lost its socialism purpose in the place of a globalist mind and neo liberism. One other problem is the fact that they weren’t able to arrange a common view deviding itself as much as possible. Things as Italian politic configuration is common across Eu just bc the disparities are right now not effordable anymore. A solution could be a new standardisation across Eu of the best practice of each state

  36. Enrico

    It’s a tricky situation, not a disaster. Most of the EU neocon and iper-liberist elite is worried mainly because the economic proposals of the new government are not the usual people-killing austerity mainstream. Dear Europe, more solidarity means share the burden of debts, first of all, like USA did when they became a Union back in 18th century.

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