• Italy’s Embrace of China’s Belt and Road Initiative Comes With Risks and Opportunity

    Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Rome on March 21 accompanied by a 500-strong delegation. A number of economic agreements, including a widely discussed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), are expected to be concluded on the visit.

    This MoU is not a trade agreement—only the European Union (EU) can sign trade agreements—but rather part of a political initiative that was launched in 2012 when eleven EU member states and five Balkan countries signed an MoU with China on investment, transport, finance, science, education, and culture.

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  • Dear Europe: Renaissance or Unraveling?

    French President Emmanuel Macron this week stirred up a robust and healthy debate with his letter published in newspapers of all 28 EU nations, calling for a “European renaissance.” First, however, he will have to reverse a European unravelling, both political and economic.

    Markets are bracing for the U.K.’s parliamentary vote on Brexit’s fate next week, the European Central Bank this week sharply downgraded growth projections to a job-killing 1.1 percent and reintroduced stimulus, and Italy is moving to officially tie its wagon to China’s Belt and Road Initiative — choosing market access over European cohesion.

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  • What’s Driving the Spat Between France and Italy?

    On February 7, France announced its decision to recall its ambassador to Rome for consultations, denouncing a “grave situation” that “has no precedent since the end of the war.” This unprecedented move came a day after Italy’s deputy prime minister, and leader of the Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio flew to France and met representatives of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Jackets) movement. In a letter to Le Monde, Di Maio justified the meeting saying: “I wanted to meet with representatives of the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ and the citizens' initiative referendum group, because I do not believe that the future of European politics lies in the parties of the right or the left.”

    The meeting, and ensuing French reaction, marks a peak in the escalation of rhetoric between French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Italy’s ruling Five Star-League coalition over the past eight months.

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  • Rome's Options in Budget Battle with Brussels

    In light of the European Commission’s rejection of its budget proposal, the Italian government essentially has three options: “cave quickly and fall into line with the EU’s demands, cave slowly, or take Italy off the cliff and leave the euro,” according to Megan Greene, managing director and chief economist for Manulife Asset Management.

    The Italian government’s initial reaction—to brush off Brussels’ concerns—has shown that “the cave quickly option is off the table now,” according to Greene.

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  • Rome and Brussels Go Head to Head in Budget Battle

    A budget proposal put forward by Italy’s populist government would create a prohibitively high deficit and has sharpened the conflict between Rome and the European Union.

    Despite warnings from Brussels, the ruling Italian coalition of La Lega and the 5 Star Movement submitted its 2019 budget proposal to the European Union (EU) on October 15. A combination of tax cuts, increased social spending, and a roll back of pension reforms will cause the deficit to jump from 0.8 percent to 2.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the government’s calculations. The proposal, which creates a deficit that is more than triple the level desired by the EU, has left investors jittery about the trajectory of the Italian economy.

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  • Oosterveld in Market Watch: Investing Markets are on High Alert Over Italy’s Budget and Debt Load

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  • When America First Meets Italy First

    US President Donald J. Trump may not find the ally he expects when he meets with the new Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, in Washington on July 30.

    The two appear to have gotten along at the recent Group of Seven (G7) and NATO summits. At the former, Conte agreed with Trump that Russia should be invited back into the club of top industrial nations. His political masters in Rome—Conte is a figurehead, real power lies with the party leaders, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini—have gone so far as to argue that Western sanctions on Russia, imposed after it seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, must be lifted.

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  • How Europe’s Migration Crisis is Heating Up the Italy-Malta Relationship This Summer

    The recent election of Italy’s new populist government led by the anti-immigration Lega political party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement has added extra heat to the Mediterranean’s already sweltering summer.

    Over the past few weeks, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, the head of the Lega party, followed through on his election promise of preventing migrants from entering into Italy and shut down the country’s southern ports to charity ships with migrants onboard.

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  • Oosterveld Joins The Warcast Podcast to Discuss Italy's New Coalition Government

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  • The G7 Summit in the Age of Trump

    As the world awaits the much-anticipated summit between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12, the president must first prepare for another important meeting: the G7.

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