Amy Kazmin

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What an Italy led by the far-right might mean for Europe

As European household energy bills surged at the onset of a blistering hot summer, Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi framed the sacrifices he was asking Italians to make on behalf of Ukraine as a stark choice. “Do you want peace”, he asked in April, “or do you want air conditioning?”

Now, after the premature collapse of Draghi’s cross-party coalition in July, Italians are poised to vote for a new government whose willingness to put them through further economic disruption and sacrifices is in doubt.

If polls are correct, Italy will emerge from its general election on Sunday with a new far-right government led by arch-conservative Giorgia Meloni, president of the Brothers of Italy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Europe’s fight to stay united over war in Ukraine

Marlies Jakob was one of dozens of ordinary Germans who took part in a phone-in show on Deutschlandfunk radio last week about sanctions against Russia. Her intervention should alarm policymakers from Paris and Brussels to Berlin.

Jakob said she was prepared to take cold showers and wear three sweaters in winter if that would stop Russia’s war against Ukraine. But, she insisted, “the opposite is true”, adding: “Thanks to sanctions . . . prices are rising and Russia is raking it in as never before”.

She wasn’t the only one to hold that view. A listener called Werner Bauer said people might support punitive measures against Moscow for now, but as soon as higher energy prices start to feed through “the mood will change completely”.…  Seguir leyendo »