Good week for Giuseppe Conte, bad week for Liam Fox
Few have heard of Giuseppe Conte but the lawyer and political novice looks set to become the prime minister of Europe’s most ungovernable country, Italy. In which case some might doubt that this is a good week for him, given Benito Mussolini’s famous line that "it’s not impossible to govern Italians, it’s pointless".
Still, good luck to the man who will have to implement the anti-establishment policies of electoral victors the League and the Five Star Movement. Brussels must be quivering.
News that the EU has stolen a march on Britain over trade talks with Australia and New Zealand will have irked the UK’s international trade secretary, Liam Fox.
The self-proclaimed "staunch Eurosceptic" spoke recently of "reinvigorating" the Commonwealth partnership with a host of trade deals after Brexit, a plan dubbed "empire 2.0" by witty Whitehall officials. But while the UK can only start its talks in April next year, European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker aims to have a deal all but signed and sealed by then.