The new Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi made yesterday his first official visit in the country. The chosen location was Treviso, the heartland of the Italian North-East, a region known as “the locomotive of Europe” but now struggling with the crisis.
Mr Renzi visited a school and then met local Mayors and entrepreneurs in the City Hall. Outside, however, a very aggressive protest was staged by supporters of Venetian independence and of the “Pitchforks Movement”, which claims to represent the impoverished middle class against the establishment.
Similar episodes are not uncommon in Italy, but the newly appointed Prime Ministers are usually granted by the public a period of grace known as “honeymoon”.
In the meantime, not far away from Treviso, the Municipality of Venice could be unable to pay the salaries of its employees unless Mr Renzi’s Government quickly relaxes budget rules.
Today, the Mayor of Rome threatened to “block the city” unless Mr Renzi’s quickly approves an aid package which is necessary to save the Municipality from bankruptcy. The Government had already enacted an Emergency Decree for this purpose, but filibustering by an increasingly enraged opposition prevented its ratification by the Parliament.