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Has Draghi become the backbone of the G7?

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In Rome, the parties try to wear down Mario Draghi, but in the G7 he is gaining more and more share. The analysis by Francesco Galietti, expert in strategic scenarios and founder of Policy Sonar

In Rome, Draghi accuses increasing difficulties. He is the fault of a parliament that dates back to the now distant 2018, when the anti-establishment bura was blowing, and of a frayed legislature in which the shadows lengthen and the daggers are metaphorically drawn. The parties feel the imminence of the elections, and they are agitated. Draghi recognizes only too well what is happening, and obviously he’s worried. He has also understood, however, that global diplomatic agendas are in his favor. Without him, the G7 would be an unstable pudding, and Italy would again be sucked into an ambiguous nebula. With the new world balance, it would be a dangerous scenario. It remains to be seen whether the new global balances can prevail over the settlements of accounts at the end of the legislature in Rome, which in different circumstances would have already determined the political end of Draghi.

The latest episode is Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s European tour, with his visit to Rome last week. Kishida called for unity in the face of the formidable challenge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but also of a China as oppressive as it is insecure and fragile. Kishida’s visit to Rome had a good resonance, not only in Italy but also abroad. There’s more: Kishida met Draghi after receiving German Olaf Scholz in Tokyo and a few days before Draghi’s visit to Washington this week, in a symbolic hug and handover. The next G7 summit in Elmau, Germany under the German presidency, is now in sight, and Kishida is meticulously preparing the meeting. The underlying message is clear: in the face of the Eurasian bloc – Russia but also China – unity and firmness are needed on the part of the G7 as never before.

The Japanese assist to Draghi is remarkable. Draghi is acknowledged that he has courageously brought Italy back to the bed of Euro-Atlanticism, after many years of disarray and flirtation between Rome and China and Russia. Furthermore, Draghi is entrusted with the fundamental task of acting as a link with the other side of the Atlantic. It is undoubtedly a recognition paid to the individual Draghi and to his extraordinary curriculum more than to Italy, since, if the economies of the G7 members were to end up on the scales, the role in question would fall to Japan itself or Germany. .

It must be said that Scholz had already been in Washington, held by the hand of Angela Merkel and still chancellor in pectore, and that in this period he preferred to give priority to Japan, thus breaking the tradition of Angela Merkel who in her state travels in Asia had always visited China before Japan. Not to mention that Scholz finds himself some ugly cat to peel in his own home: for weeks now, the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin Andrij Melnyk has been targeting the German government and institutions, denouncing slowness and ambiguity in very direct language. The German establishment did not like the constant teasing, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine renamed Melnyk ‘Krawalldiplomat’, the smashing ambassador. Scholz, in short, has a very important role in the G7 but at the moment everything is in Draghi’s favor, and ultimately everything is good for everyone in the club.

This state of affairs legitimizes Draghi as a privileged interlocutor of the Americans and a lieutenant figure in an area, the Euro-Mediterranean one, which is once again ‘hot’ on global maps. It is a role that Draghi himself does not want to escape, especially since for some time ours seems to have returned to his first love: the USA. After long years of substantial American disinterest in Italy, on the banks of the Potomac Rome is once again very topical, even if not everything can still be said to be perfectly settled. It is striking, for example, that after so many months since Biden took office in the White House, there is still no stars and stripes ambassador to Italy, to the point that the reception at Villa Taverna for Independence Day will have to be handled by the chargé d ‘affaires (moreover outgoing) rather than by an ambassador. Net of these aspects of color, there is no doubt that Draghi is investing a lot of energy on the relationship with the USA. In the current Democratic administration he can count on an old friend, Janet Yellen, as well as slices of the deep state. Draghi’s is a bet that could prove to be a winner, and that could amply repay him for the dents he remedied in the race to the Quirinale. In the event of elections in 2023, in fact, without a clear majority from the polls, Draghi could receive a new mandate as prime minister. And in 2024, just a year later, there will be the Europeans and he will be appointed the successor of Ursula von der Leyen.

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