Mario Draghi

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Mario Draghi

Mario Draghi 2021 cropped.jpg
Draghi in 2021
Prime Minister of Italy
Assumed office
13 February 2021
PresidentSergio Mattarella
Preceded byGiuseppe Conte
President of the European Central Bank
In office
1 November 2011 – 31 October 2019
Vice PresidentVítor Constâncio
Luis de Guindos
Preceded byJean-Claude Trichet
Succeeded byChristine Lagarde
Governor of the Bank of Italy
In office
16 January 2006 – 31 October 2011
Preceded byAntonio Fazio
Succeeded byIgnazio Visco
Personal details
Born (1947-09-03) 3 September 1947 (age 73)
Rome, Italy
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)
Serena Cappello
(m. 1973)
Children2
ResidenceChigi Palace, Rome (Official)
Città della Pieve, Umbria (Private)
EducationSapienza University of Rome
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)
Signature
WebsiteOfficial website

Mario Draghi OMRI (Italian: [ˈmaːrjo ˈdraːɡi]; born 3 September 1947) is an Italian economist, banker, academic, civil servant, and politician who has been serving as Prime Minister of Italy since 13 February 2021.[1][2] He previously served as President of the European Central Bank from 2011 until 2019. Draghi was also Chair of the Financial Stability Board from 2009 to 2011 and Governor of the Bank of Italy from 2006 to 2011.[3]

After a lengthy career as an academic economist in Italy, Draghi worked for the World Bank in Washington, D.C., throughout the 1980s, and in 1991 returned to Rome to become Director General of the Italian Treasury. He left that role after a decade to join Goldman Sachs, where he remained until his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Italy in 2006. His tenure as Governor coincided with the 2008 Great Recession, and in the midst of this he was selected to become the first Chair of the Financial Stability Board, the global standard-setter that replaced the Financial Stability Forum.

He left those roles after his nomination by the European Council in 2011 to serve as President of the European Central Bank. He presided over the institution during the Eurozone crisis, becoming famous throughout Europe for saying that he would be prepared to do "whatever it takes" to prevent the euro from failing.[4] In 2014, Draghi was listed by Forbes magazine as the eighth-most powerful person in the world. In 2015, Fortune magazine ranked him as the world's "second greatest leader".[5] In 2019, Paul Krugman described him as "the greatest central banker of modern times."[6] Moreover, thanks to his monetary policies, he is widely considered the "savior of the euro" during the European debt crisis.[7][8][9][10] He has been nicknamed Super Mario by some media, a nickname that was popularised during his time as President of the European Central Bank, when he was credited by numerous sources as having played a key role in combatting the Eurozone crisis.[11][12]

After Draghi's term as ECB President ended in 2019, he initially returned to private life. On 3 February 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Draghi was invited by Italian President Sergio Mattarella to form a government of national unity, following the resignation of Giuseppe Conte.[13][14][15] After successful negotiations with parties including the League, the Five Star Movement, the Democratic Party and Forza Italia, Draghi was sworn in as Prime Minister on 13 February, pledging to oversee effective implementation of COVID-19 economic stimulus.[16]

Early life and education[edit]

Mario Draghi was born in Rome in 1947 to an upper-class family; his father Carlo, who was born in Padua, first joined the Bank of Italy in 1922, and later worked for the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI) and for the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro; while his mother, Gilda Mancini, who was born in Monteverde, Campania, near Avellino, was a pharmacist. He is the eldest of three children: Andreina, an art historian, and Marcello, an entrepreneur.[17] When he was 15 years old he lost his father, who was born in 1895, and soon after at 19 he lost his mother.[18]

Draghi studied at the Massimiliano Massimo Institute, a Jesuit school in Rome, where he was a classmate of the future chairman of Ferrari, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and the future television presenter, Giancarlo Magalli.[19][20][21] In 1970, he graduated with honours in Economics at the Sapienza University of Rome, under the supervision of Keynesian economist Federico Caffè; his graduation dissertation was titled "Economic integration and the variation of exchange rates".[22] In his dissertation, Draghi was particularly critical of Luxembourg Prime Minister Pierre Werner's remarks that European monetary union was "premature".[23] Draghi went on to earn a PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, this time with a dissertation titled: "Essays on economic theory and applications", under the supervision of Franco Modigliani and Robert Solow.[24]

Professor and civil servant[edit]

Draghi with Guido Carli in 1991

From 1975 to 1981, Draghi was first Professor of Economic and Financial Policy at the University of Trento, then of Macroeconomics at the University of Padua, and later of Mathematical Economics at the University of Venice.[25] In 1981, he was appointed Professor of Economic and Monetary Policy at the University of Florence a position that he held until 1994.[26] During this time, he also spent time as a consultant at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.. In 1983, Draghi was also appointed a counsellor to then-Minister of Treasury Giovanni Goria.[27]

In 1991, Minister of Treasury Guido Carli and Bank of Italy Governor Carlo Azeglio Ciampi appointed Draghi as Director General of the Italian Treasury; Draghi held this senior position in the civil service until 2001.[28] During his time at the Treasury, he chaired the committee that revised Italian corporate and financial legislation, and drafted the law that continues to govern Italian financial markets.[29] Draghi was also among the main proponents of the privatisations of many state-owned companies which occurred in the Italian economy through the 1990s. He also chaired the management committee of SACE, implementing a complete reformation of the group and managing the transition from the Mani Pulite corruption scandal. Draghi returned to chair SACE between 1998 and 2001, before the subsequent privatisation. During these years, he was also a board member of several Italian banks and corporations, like Eni, Institute for Industrial Reconstruction, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro and Istituto Mobiliare Italiano.[30][31]

In 2001, he left the Treasury to become a fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[32] Draghi was also appointed a Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs International in 2002. He was also made a member of the firm's management committee, holding all of these roles until 2005.[33] He led Goldman Sachs's European strategy and its engagements with major European corporations and governments.[34] After the revelation that off-market swaps had been systematically used by the Greek Government, facilitated by Goldman Sachs, Draghi stated that he "knew nothing" about the arrangement, and "had nothing to do with it".[35] During this period, Draghi also worked as a trustee at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and also spent time as a consultant at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.[29]

Governor of the Bank of Italy[edit]

Draghi with U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008

In December 2005, it was announced that Draghi would become Governor of the Bank of Italy.[36] He officially took up the position on 16 January 2006. In April 2006, he was elected by fellow central bank governors to become Chairman of the Financial Stability Forum; this body would later be re-organised to become the Financial Stability Board in April 2009 on behalf of the G20, bringing together representatives of governments, central banks and national supervisors institutions in the wake of the financial crisis.[37] As the inaugural FSB Chairman, Draghi was responsible to the G20 leaders, and worked to promote international financial stability, improve the functioning of markets and reduce systemic risk through information exchange and international cooperation between supervisors.

In his capacity as Bank of Italy Governor, Draghi was also a member of the Governing and General Councils of the European Central Bank and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements. He also represented Italy on the Board of Governors at both the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank.[38] On 5 August 2011, he made a contribution to domestic political debate when, together with the ECB President Jean Claude Trichet, he published a notable letter to the Italian Government of Silvio Berlusconi to recommend a series of economic measures that should urgently be implemented in Italy.[39]

President of the European Central Bank[edit]

Draghi had for years been mentioned as a possible successor to Jean-Claude Trichet, whose term as President of the European Central Bank was due to end in October 2011.[40] On 13 February 2011, Wolfgang Münchau, associate editor of the Financial Times, endorsed Draghi as the best candidate for the position.[41] A few days later, The Economist wrote that "the next president of the world's second-most-important central bank should be Mario Draghi".[42] Draghi subsequently won the support of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for the position, who expressed a desire to see an Italian take the pre-eminent economic policymaking role within the European Union.[43] On 17 May 2011, the Council of the European Union recommended the nomination of Draghi as President of the ECB.[44] Draghi's nomination was later approved by the European Parliament and the ECB itself, and on 24 June 2011 his appointment was signed-off by EU leaders.[45][46] During the nomination process, some concerns were raised about Draghi's past employment at Goldman Sachs.[33][47] As a member of the Group of Thirty, founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, he was accused in Der Spiegel, Tagesschau.de and Die Welt of having a conflict of interest as president of the ECB.[48][49] Draghi moved to Frankfurt and formally took up the role of ECB President on 1 November 2011, the day after Trichet's term expired.[50]

Mario Draghi at the World Economic Forum, in 2012

In December 2011, Draghi brokered a €489 billion three-year loan program from the ECB to EU banks. Draghi's ECB also promptly repealed the final two interest rate hikes of Trichet's term, stating this would ease the continuing European sovereign debt crisis. In February 2012, Nobel Prize laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz argued that on the issue of the impending Greek debt restructuring, the ECB's insistence that it should be "voluntary", as opposed to a default agreed by Greek authorities, would be "a gift" to the financial institutions that sold credit default insurance on that debt, a position Stiglitz argued was a moral hazard.[51] In March 2012, a second, larger round of ECB loans to EU banks was initiated, this time called the Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO). One commentator, Matthew Lynn, saw the ECB's injection of funds, along with quantitative easing from the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, as feeding increases in oil prices in 2011 and 2012.[52]

In July 2012, in the midst of renewed fears about sovereigns in the eurozone, Draghi stated in a panel discussion that, under his leadership, the ECB "...is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough."[53] This statement was heavily reported throughout the EU and the world's financial markets, and initially led to a steady decline in bond yields (borrowing costs) for eurozone countries, in particular Spain, Italy and France. In light of what had been slow political progress on solving the eurozone crisis, Draghi's statement has come to be seen subsequently as the major turning point in the fortunes of the eurozone, with numerous policymakers and commentators describing it as having been essential to the continuation of the euro currency.[54][55] Draghi has since come to be prominently associated with the phrase "whatever it takes".

Beginning in 2013, Draghi was criticised in the context of the scandals rising around the bank Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena[56] which according to at least one German publication was making very risky deals.[57]

Mario Draghi in Davos in 2013

In April 2013, Draghi said in response to a question regarding membership of the eurozone, "These questions are formulated by people who vastly underestimate what the euro means for the Europeans, for the euro area. They vastly underestimate the political capital that has been invested in the euro."[58] In 2015, in an appearance before the European Parliament, Draghi said that the future of the eurozone was at risk unless member countries gave up some independence and created more Pan-European government institutions. "We have not yet reached the stage of a genuine monetary union," Draghi said. Failure of eurozone countries to harmonise their economies and create stronger institutions would, he said, "put at risk the long-term success of the monetary union when faced with an important shock."[59] In 2015, Draghi said that his political ideas are along to liberal socialism[60]

On 31 October 2019, his mandate as ECB President expired and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde was appointed as his successor.[61]

Prime Minister of Italy[edit]

Government formation[edit]

Draghi with President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace

Between December 2020 and January 2021, tensions arose within Italy's ruling coalition, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi taking contrary positions on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy as well as its deep economic consequences.[62] On 13 January, Renzi announced the resignation of the two Cabinet Ministers from his party, Italia Viva, triggering the collapse of the Conte Government.[63] On 26 January, after days of inconclusive negotiations with political parties, Conte tendered his resignation as Prime Minister to President Mattarella.[64]

On 2 February 2021, following failed consultations between parties to nominate a replacement, President Mattarella announced he would summon Draghi to the Quirinal Palace, with the intention of giving him the task of forming a technocratic government.[65][66][67] The following day, Draghi accepted the task of forming a new government and began consultations with party leaders.[68] Draghi quickly secured the support of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the centrist Italia Viva (IV), the left-wing Free and Equal (LeU), and other small liberal and centrist parties.[69] After an initial delay, Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League, and Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the centre-right Forza Italia, jointly announced they too would support Draghi.[70] Finally, on 11 February, the membership of the Five Star Movement (M5S) approved the party's support for Draghi, with 59.3% of party members voting in favour of joining the new government.[71]

Draghi announcing his cabinet

On 12 February, Draghi unveiled the members of his cabinet, which included representatives from all of the above political parties, including 9 ministers from the outgoing cabinet, as well as independent technocrats.[72] The following day, Draghi was sworn in as Prime Minister.[73] Draghi's cabinet was described as a national unity government by numerous news articles in the wake of its announcement.[74][75][76]

On 17 February, Draghi won a confidence vote in the Senate, with 262 votes in favour, 40 against and 2 abstentions.[77] On the following day, he won a further confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies with 535 votes in favour, 56 against and 5 abstentions; this margin represented one of the largest ever majorities in the history of the Italian Republic.[78] During his first speech as Prime Minister to both houses of the Italian Parliament, Draghi stated that the Italy that emerged after the COVID-19 pandemic would have to undergo a period of reconstruction similar to post-World War II Italy, and that it would be his government's responsibility to begin this process.[79] He also stressed that his government would adopt a strongly pro-European position, and emphasised the importance of Italy remaining within the Eurosystem.[80][81][82][83]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Addressing the nation shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Draghi stated that it would be his government's priority to plan a route out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and pledged to reorganise the country's pandemic response units; on 27 February, Draghi replaced the Head of the Civil Protection, Angelo Borrelli, with Fabrizio Curcio, and on 1 March, he replaced the Extraordinary Commissioner for the COVID-19 Emergency, Domenico Arcuri, with the Army General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, who received the additional mandate of reorganising and implementing the vaccination campaign.[84] Borrelli and Arcuri were both considered very close to former prime minister Conte.[85][86]

First official meeting of the Draghi Cabinet at the Chigi Palace

Following discussions with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Draghi announced that he had agreed to ensure vaccines produced in Italy were prioritised for distribution to the population of the European Union.[87] On the following day, Draghi made international headlines by authorising the blocking of a shipment of 250,000 Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccines that were originally intended to travel to Australia.[88] This led to harsh criticism by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.[89][90] Conversely, Draghi's decision was praised by other European leaders, such as French President Emmanuel Macron.[91] In mid-March, the Italian Government announced it would pause the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, after reports that some Italians treated with it had developed blood clots, although no death cases have been reported directly due to the vaccine. [92] On 16 March 2021, Draghi had a phone call with the French President Macron concerning the suspension of the Astrazeneca vaccine and of the eventual decisions of the European Medicines Agency that will take a definitive decision on 18 March 2021. [93]

On 15 March 2021, Draghi placed the majority of Italy under so-called 'full lockdown' conditions, with non-essential businesses closing and travel restricted, in response to an increase in the transmission of COVID-19, although unlike the 2020 lockdown, factories and some other workplaces were allowed to remain open. Announcing the lockdown, Draghi vowed that Italy would see its vaccination programme triple in April, reaching 500,000 people per day by that time.[94] Around this time, Draghi's approval rating as Prime Minister reached a new high of 63% in opinion polls.[95]

On 16 April, during a press conference with his health minister Roberto Speranza, Draghi announced that restrictions will be eased from 26 April, allowing the reopening of bars and restaurants, stating that "it is possible to look to the future with prudent optimism and confidence".[96]

Foreign policies[edit]

Since the beginning of his premiership, Draghi implemented an active foreign policy focused on the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa and the Middle East in order to increase Italy's influence over the area.[97][98] On 26 March 2021, during a press conference, Draghi praised US President Biden, saying he imbroved EU-US relations.[99] On 6 April 2021, Draghi visited Libya, in his first international trip, during which he met Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, seeking to strengthen ties with the Arab country, which was Italy's former colony.[100] The trip was described as an attempt to reduce the Turkish and Egyptian influences over Libya, following the aftermath of the civil war.[101] Moreover, after a few days during a press conference in Rome, Draghi labeled the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a "dictator", harshly criticizing him for his behavior after a meeting with the European leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, during which, according to Draghi, he "humiliated President von der Leyen".[102][103] The statement caused immediate reactions from the Turkish government. Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu summoned Italian ambassador and described Draghi's words as an "unacceptable populist rhetoric", while many other prominent members of Erdoğan's cabinet strongly attacked Draghi.[104][105] However, the Italian Prime Minister was backed by several European leaders, like the head of the European People's Party, Manfred Weber.[106] On 14 April, Erdoğan accused Draghi of being an "appointed and unelected Prime Minister", describing his statement as "rude and impertinent".[107][108]

Personal life[edit]

In 1973, Mario Draghi married Serena Cappello, an expert in English literature,[109][110] with whom he has two children: Federica, who worked as investment director of Genextra Spa and board member of Italian Angels for Biotechis, and Giacomo, a finance analyst, who worked as an interest-rate derivative trader at investment bank Morgan Stanley until 2017, and is now at the LMR Partners hedge fund.[111][112]

Draghi is a Roman Catholic of Jesuit education and is devout to St. Ignatius of Loyola.[113] Draghi has homes in Rome's Parioli district and in Città della Pieve in Umbria.[114] He is a supporter of A.S. Roma, one of the football teams of his hometown, and a great fan of basketball.[115]

Honours[edit]

Italian honours[edit]

Grande ufficiale OMRI BAR.svg Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – awarded on 27 December 1991.[116]
Cordone di gran Croce OMRI BAR.svg Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – awarded on 5 April 2000.[117][118]

Foreign honours[edit]

PRT Order of Prince Henry - Grand Collar BAR.png Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry – awarded on 19 June 2019.[119]
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 7 Grosskreuz.svg Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany – awarded on 31 January 2020.[120]

Honorary degrees[edit]

References[edit]

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  88. ^ Italy Blocks Australia’s AstraZeneca Vaccines Under EU Rule, Bloomberg
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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Antonio Fazio
Governor of the Bank of Italy
2006–2011
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Ignazio Visco
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President of the European Central Bank
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New office Chair of the Financial Stability Board
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