27th Feb 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

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.


Almost 20 names in running for EU top jobs

With four months until the European Parliament elections, there are already some 20 names in the hat for the ensuing reshuffle of EU top jobs.


Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

In a fractious parliamentary vote, the level of party discipline often decides the fate of legislation. Party discipline among nationalists and far-right MEPs is the weakest, something potentially significant after the June elections. Data by Novaya Gazeta Europe and EUobserver.

Latest News

  1. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  2. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit
  3. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  4. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  5. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  6. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?
  7. Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line
  8. More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us