Italy, the Euro and Europe:  A round-table discussion on the implications of the recent upheavals in Italy


To be held on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 12.30-2.15


  • Paola Subacchi (Chatham House)
  • Michele Napolitano (Fitch)
  • Hetal Mehta (LGIM)
  • Tony Barber (FT)
  • Alessandro Merli (John Hopkins)



At the time of writing, what appeared to be an existential crisis for the Eurozone has quietened down. The Lega and 5 Star have managed to form a government that President Mattarella (and Ms. Merkel) can accept; the new PM has said that quitting the euro was never on the table. And talk of an imminent election has receded.

And yet… PM Conte has insisted that he intended to push through “radical” change, the spread of Italian treasuries over bunds was widened to 250bp, capital flight is pushing up Italy’s T25 balance at the ECB and the inescapable fact remains that the new government is committed to increased public spending – and a higher fiscal deficit. With Italy’s debt rate already at 139% it is hard to escape the feeling that a car crash is inevitable.

So, since Italy remains the third largest economy in the Eurozone (and the seventh or eighth in the world), and since Italian banks (with or without consolidation) are among the biggest in Europe, it is worth a look at how the country’s problems are going to impact on Brussels, on the Euro – and, indirectly on ‘Brexit’ and on the city of London.

To discuss this and any other issues that come up I am delighted that we have been able to assemble a distinguished panel:


  • Paola Subachi is currently a senior research fellow in global economics and finance at Chatham House, where she was previously research director and head of the international economics programme. She is also a visiting professor at the University of Bologna, and a director of a number of public companies.
  • Michele Napolitano is head of western European sovereign at Fitch Ratings. He previously held senior economics positions at Barclays, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, and is a frequent commentator in the financial press.
  • Tony Barber is Europe Editor of the Financial Times. He is a former foreign correspondent in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, the former Soviet Union, the US and the former Yugoslavia.
  • Hetal Mehta is senior European economist and a member of the asset allocation team at Legal and General Investment Management – and another frequent commentator in the financial pages.
  • Alessandro Merli is an Associate Fellow at Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe in Bologna. He is a former Germany correspondent, financial editor and London correspondent for Il Sole 24 Ore.


As someone who followed the Greek crisis closely, I was very conscious that what was manageable in Athens could become an inescapable problem for the Eurozone if Rome went the same way – and I was, therefore, intrigued/horrified to read that Yanis Varoufakis has been spending time in Italy advising the new government. Whatever, Italy matters – in a way that Greece really didn’t. And it is, therefore, a situation that is worth a very careful look. If you (or a colleague) would like to join us – and perhaps share your own thoughts – please let us know as soon as possible by emailing or calling the CSFI on 020 7621 1056As usual wine and sandwiches will be provided.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton