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Italy is on a Collision Course with the EU

After 11 weeks of negotiations, the populist parties that triumphed in March’s Italian elections have agreed on who should be Italy’s new prime minister. Before they could settle on Giuseppe Conte, a 53-year-old law professor with no previous political experience and little political conviction, they had to agree that Silvio Berlusconi, an 81-year-old swinger with plenty of political experience and convictions for tax fraud and wiretapping, should not be prime minister.
Only when Berlusconi withdrew did a deal become possible. This, as much as Conte’s inexperience and the ideological differences between his patrons, the old-right Lega and the alt-left Five Star Movement, suggests that Conte is not going to be a real prime minister at all, but a messenger who happens to sit in a big chair.
The terms of the message are still being worked out but, whatever it is, it won’…
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