DPA/APA – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has confirmed that he is not intending to run in the country’s next parliamentary elections, due next year.
“This is contrary to my career and experience,” the 74-year-old told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday.
The 74-year-old head of government has led a multi-party coalition since February 2021, which is expected to remain in place until the end of the 2023 legislative period. “At a time of uncertainty, potential instability, internal and external weaknesses, this cabinet of national unity wants to continue to rule. This government will go on to the end anyway, if it manages to do the things the country needs,” Draghi said .
“We are in the process of overcoming the pandemic; on the international front, Italy has regained the weight it should have. We support Ukraine, we work for peace; on the economic front, we have GDP growth of 6.6 in 2021 percent achieved. Due to the war, development has slowed down. The task of the government is now to support workers and companies and to make Italy more modern, more livable and fairer,” said the independent head of government.
The Italian prime minister said he had called Russian President Vladimir Putin and tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to agree on a ceasefire. “He replied that the time was not right,” Draghi said.
“We will stand by our Ukrainian friends, whose resistance is heroic,” Draghi said. He expects a “war of resistance”. “The line of all allies remains to avoid direct involvement of Europe in the war. Sanctions are important to weaken the aggressor, but they cannot stop the troops in the short term. To achieve this, you have to help the Ukrainians directly, and we do. Not to do so would be tantamount to asking to surrender, to accept slavery and submission,” Draghi said. In his view, the sanctions against Russia would work. “Now we are asking ourselves whether we need to do more,” said the head of government.
Italy is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas imports. “The Italian proposal for a cap on the Russian gas price has support and will be discussed at the next European Council on the basis of a general document prepared by the EU Commission,” Draghi said. In order to end dependence on Russian gas, Italy must diversify energy sources and find new suppliers. The government has already passed regulations to open up investments in renewable energy. At the same time, his cabinet is trying to reduce the consequences of high energy costs for companies and families. “We have already spent 20 billion on cutting bills and we intend to do even more to protect businesses and citizens, especially the most vulnerable,” Draghi said.
Investments related to the stimulus plan would also make progress: “In 2021 we have achieved all the targets set in the national stimulus plan. A few days ago the first 21 billion arrived, in addition to the almost 25 billion we received last year. But there are some reforms that we still have to carry out: competition, tax and judicial reform,” said Draghi.