20th Mar 2023

Prodi steps down over foreign policy dispute

  • After nine months as Italy's Prime Minister, Romano Prodi steps down (Photo: EUobserver)

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has handed in his resignation after senators from the ruling coalition parties voted down his plans to expand a US airbase in northern Italy and keep Italian troops with NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The country's president Georgio Napolitano is scheduled on Thursday (22 February) to hold a round of crisis talks with political leaders and decide whether to call new elections or ask Mr Prodi to stay in power.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The Italian centre-left leader indicated yesterday that he would carry on as prime minister "if, and only if, he is guaranteed the full support of all the parties in the majority from now on," his spokesman said, according to press reports.

Mr Prodi was not obliged to step down after the vote on the non-binding foreign policy motion in the Senate, the legislature's upper house, but he insisted that he needed clear support for his cabinet to pursue Italy's international commitments.

The former president of the European Commission led Italy's shaky nine-party coalition with a thin majority for nine months following last year's victory over his centre-right predecessor Silvio Berlusconi - the first leader to achieve a full parliamentary term in government after years of unstable politics in the country.

But partly due to Mr Berlusconi's changes in the electoral system, the centre-left government ruled on the basis of a thin majority - by one vote in the Senate - which also enabled Tuesday's result with the executive losing by two votes.

According to analysts, while the radical left wanted to voice its anger over foreign policy issues it did not intend to topple the government and call for a snap election - which is viewed as a signal that Mr Prodi will get another chance to form a new cabinet.

Apart from involving Mr Prodi, President Napolitano could choose a different cabinet leader from the ruling coalition or appoint a government of technocrats.

Prodi survives confidence vote

Italian prime minister Romano Prodi narrowly survived a confidence vote on Wednesday after his nine-month fractious centre-left coalition government received 162 to 157 votes in Italy's Senate.

MEPs press EU Commission over Qatari-paid business-class flights

Pro-transparency MEPs are asking probing questions into possible conflict of interest between a senior EU commission official and Qatar, following revelations his business class trips were paid by Doha while negotiating a market access deal for its national airline.


Germany as a laboratory of 'communism vs capitalism'

A new exhibition at the Deutsches Historiches Musuem in Berlin unveils industrial photography of Germany's steel, coal, car, chemical and textile industries from the 1950s to 1980s — some in East Germany, some in West. But which was which?


Member states are taking more control — for better or worse?

Two major trends — more Europe and a more intergovernmental Europe — should get alarm bells ringing. The European Union risks becoming a bazaar dominated by national politicians haggling, doing handshakes, walking out and having tantrums.

Latest News

  1. 'Forever chemicals' industry hit by perfect storm
  2. EU summit zooms in on global roles This WEEK
  3. EU launches 'Hydrogen Bank' — but what is it?
  4. MEPs probing spyware 'stonewalled' by EU states
  5. Why the EU double standards on mental help for asylum seekers?
  6. 'Bravery has no gender', Ukrainian Nobel winner says
  7. Innovation and politics: an intertwined relationship
  8. Most Frontex deportations to take place from Germany, Italy

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality
  5. Promote UkraineInvitation to the National Demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine on 25.02.2023
  6. Azerbaijan Embassy9th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and 1st Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us