Giancarlo Giorgetti, whose political mentor was Northern League founder Umberto Bossi but who is considered a pro-Europe moderate, will serve as finance minister
Milan (AFP) - Giancarlo Giorgetti, named Italy’s new economy minister on Friday, is considered one of the more moderate, pro-Europe members of Matteo Salvini’s League party.
He was a loyal supporter of outgoing prime minister Mario Draghi, serving as his minister of economic development.
The 55-year-old has spent most of his political career in the League, but does not hesitate in disagreeing with Salvini – even if publicly, he denies any rift.
His political mentor was Umberto Bossi, who founded the party when it was the regionally focused Northern League.
“Umberto Bossi is a political master, he made me understand that politics is a game of chess, you have to calculate everything up to the last move,” he said in an interview in March 2018.
Like Giorgia Meloni, the Brothers of Italy leader named prime minister Friday, he cut his political teeth in the youth wing of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), formed by supporters of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini after World War II.
But he was not the first choice for the economy ministry, one of the most important in the new government in Rome.
Meloni had in her sights Fabio Panetta, a senior executive in the Bank of Italy, and Daniele Franco, Draghi’s finance minister, as she sought both continuity with the previous government and to reassure international investors.
“We aim to build an authoritative and top-level government,” Meloni said repeatedly.
Giorgetti will have much to do to reconcile the costly election promises of the League and the need to reduce Italy’s huge debt, in the context of soaring interest rates and fears of a looming recession.
A graduate in business economics from Bocconi university in Milan, he will have to look at the flagship measures of the right-wing coalition – a flat tax, tax amnesties, a shield on energy prices for households and businesses and lowering the retirement age.
“It would not be an enjoyable expense, but to pay for the harm done by the war” in Ukraine, he said.
In contrast to Salvini, Giorgetti is reserved and eschews the limelight, refusing to join social media. “I don’t put myself in the front row,” he said.
An avid supporter of English football club Southampton, he served under former premier Giuseppe Conte’s 2018-2019 government, notably as sports minister.
A practising Catholic and Americanophile, he was born on December 16, 1966 in Cazzago Brabbia, in northern Italy. His father was a fisherman and his mother was a textile worker.
From 1995 to 2004, he was mayor of the town of less than 800 inhabitants.
When his name came up, Ignazio La Russa, who co-founded Brothers of Italy with Meloni, said he could have been appointed to several roles.
“He could also be general of the armed forces. Giorgetti can do everything, he is my friend, there is no role that he cannot play,” said La Russa.