Italy has a lesson for Europe: do your homework. The victory of Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party in European Parliament elections demonstrates that a strong domestic politician can be more appealing than euro-bashing, even in a sickly economy.
Before Sunday’s vote, it looked like Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement might be swept forward in the regional tide of discontent. In fact, while populists gained in the United Kingdom, France, and even Spain, in Italy Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party was the clear winner. It took 40.8 per cent of the votes, more than the combined draw of Five Star and Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia.