Italy’s new prime minister orphaned at 15, played good football and became ‘Super Mario’ saving the euro – 12/02/2021 – World

Raised in an upper-middle-class family in Rome, Italy’s new Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, 73, lost his parents at 15, was a prominent student and commanded the European Central Bank (ECB, the institution responsible for the monetary policy of the 19 countries that use the euro) in one of their most serious crises.

Draghi studied in Jesuit schools and had to take over the family as a teenager, when his father, one of the directors of the Bank of Italy (European central bank), and his mother, a pharmacist, died within months. , in the middle of 1960.

Emancipation took him on different paths from those of his colleagues. In the 1968 counterculture wave, Draghitinha “held beliefs that you would call liberal socialism today, not suited to extremist groups,” said in 2014. “My hair was long, but not” very “long. . Also, I had no parents to rebel against.

A school friend and now UN diplomat, Staffan de Mistura, described him to the British BBC as a “team boy”: “On the pitch he always passed the ball. He was not the best football player we have had, but a good player. And he always had a strategy, he knew where to go. “

His good performance in studies led him to a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Draghi was the first Italian to have a doctorate at the university, in 1976. His advisor was Franco Modigliani, who then received the Nobel Prize in Economics, as well as his contemporary Paul Krugman. He was also a colleague of Stanley Fischer, now president of the Central Bank of Israel. According to the Italian, the experience of the United States reinforced his belief in the European Union project.

After teaching economics at the University of Florence and working at the World Bank in the 1980s, Draghi entered public administration as Director General of the Italian Treasury in 1991, where he remained until 2001. During this period he worked for the adoption of a currency only in the EU (Italy joined the euro in 1999). In 2006 he assumed the chairmanship of Banco da Italia, after a period in the private sector – as vice chairman of Goldman Sachs.

It inherited a severe crisis when it took over the ECB in 2011. Deeply indebted, Greece threatened to leave the European Union, which would bring down the single currency. A strong speech in 2012, in which he pledged to “do whatever is necessary to preserve the euro”, is signaled as the turning point in expectations. “Believe me, that will be enough,” added Draghi.

After the speech, the interest rates of the countries of the euro zone started to fall. Negotiations and bailout policies lasted for several months, but Greece was bailed out, and firmness in euro defense earned Draghi the nickname “Super Mario”. By leaving his mandate at the ECB in 2019, the economist had also left the public arena. “Ask my wife,” he replied when asked by reporters about his upcoming move.

It’s unclear what English literary expert Serena Cappello would have replied – his wife since 1973 and with whom he has a son and daughter. On Friday (12), Draghi became the 67th Italian Prime Minister since World War II and the seventh in ten years.

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