The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi answers reporters' questions during a press conference in Rome, Monday, May 26, 2014. In Italy the main government party, the Democrats led by Premier Matteo Renzi, had beaten off a challenge by the anti-euro 5-Star Movement of comic Beppe Grillo. The center-left Democrats won 40,8 percent, while Grillo's anti-establishment movement garnered 21,1 percent.
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi answers reporters' questions during a press conference in Rome, Monday, May 26, 2014. In Italy the main government party, the Democrats led by Premier Matteo Renzi, had beaten off a challenge by the anti-euro 5-Star Movement of comic Beppe Grillo. The center-left Democrats won 40,8 percent, while Grillo's anti-establishment movement garnered 21,1 percent.
(Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Italy’s lesson: Double down on fixing your own country

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.