Italian parliament gives PM Conte green light to back ESM reform
Italy’s two houses of parliament gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to approve a contested reform of the euro zone’s bailout fund, known as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), at an EU summit on Dec. 10-11, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Last week some 60 rebels from the co-ruling 5-Star Movement, which has always opposed the reform, threatened to vote against the government, leaving it potentially vulnerable to defeat.
However, coalition negotiations produced a resolution which most 5-Star lawmakers agreed to, authorising Conte to approve the ESM changes while pursuing other reforms of EU financial management aimed at overturning austerity.
At the end of heated debates, the lower house Chamber of Deputies approved the resolution by 314 votes to 239, while the upper house Senate passed the measure by 156 to 129.
“This is an important confirmation of the cohesion of the coalition following a clear, pro-European line,” Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said in a statement.
After Conte signs off on the revamped ESM at this week’s summit, the reform, which Italy has held up for months due to 5-Star’s resistance, must then be ratified by national parliaments before it comes into force on Jan. 1, 2022.
Despite the fact he won Wednesday’s twin motions, Conte still faces bitter infighting within his coalition, particularly over the management of a multi-billion euro economic recovery plan, which could yet tear his premiership apart.