Italy’s New Prime Minister Appeals for Societal Changes: Unity and Sacrifice

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The new Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, is calling for societal changes as he maps a path forward to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, calling on Italian citizens to unify and be willing to make sacrifices.

Draghi says recovery will take unity and sacrifice

Italy’s new prime minister, the former chief of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, 73, laid out his plans in his first speech as the head of the country’s government.

On Wednesday, Draghi gave a speech in which he addressed the Italian Senate for an hour. He appealed to Italians to come together in unity and be willing to make sacrifices in order to help the country recover from the devastating coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reported.

As of Friday, February 19, Italy remained one of the world’s hardest-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic. Part of that is due to the fact that Italy is home to one of the oldest populations in Europe and COVID-19 predominantly affects older people. Italy ranked #8 among the nations of the globe with 2,780,882 total cases. Italy ranked #6 among countries with the most total deaths, losing 15,479 people to COVID-19, according to worldometers.info.

“This is our mission as Italians,” Draghi explained, “[to] deliver a better and fairer country to our children and grandchildren. He emphasized that his generation and others needed to be willing to undertake the sacrifices that “our grandparents and parents did for us.”

Draghi on issues in Italy, EU and other nations

Draghi said that Italy was undergoing its most severe challenges since World War II. Mr. Draghi said under his leadership, the government had “the possibility, or rather the responsibility, to begin a new reconstruction” after the impact the country has suffered as a result of the pandemic.

Draghi also voiced his intention to continue to support a single European currency.

“Supporting this government means endorsing the irreversibility of the choice of the euro,” Mr. Draghi said.

Draghi said that supporting his government meant “sharing the perspective of an ever-closer European Union,” while calling for loser collaboration with Germany and France. He criticized both human rights abuses in Russia and China, while reflecting on the tension surrounding the communist nation.

He said, as required by the European Union, investments and digitalization, green jobs and renewable energy would be prioritized under his government. He advocated for an overhaul to the countries tax code, bureaucracy and glacial judiciary. The latter often traps businesses in lawsuits, which in turn, scares off foreign investors.

Draghi also spoke out on equality, acknowledging that women in elderly suffered “one of the worst pay gaps in Europe,” as well as “chronic scarcity” in management positions.

“Real gender equality does not mean a self-righteous respect of the quotas for women required by the law,” Mr. Draghi said.

Unity and sacrifice a duty

In concluding his speech, Draghi said that only by sacrifice from the country’s elected lawmakers and a spirit of national unity, could Italy turn conditions around.

“Today, unity is not an option — unity is a duty,” Mr. Draghi said a standing ovation. “But it’s a duty driven by what I am certain unites everyone… the love of Italy.”