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I've been asked by several (non-Italian speaking) people for my views on the #minibot affaire over the past few days, so I think the time has come for me to put down all my thoughts in thread form (alert: it's going to be long) 1/
Let's start from WHAT happened exactly. A lot of foreign press has been launching headlines such as "Italy voted for parallel currency" or similar. That is not entirely correct. I want to make this point crystal clear because details matter a great deal in this mess 2/
What happened is that the Lower House of the Italian Parliament voted UNANIMOUSLY (we'll come to that part later on) for a motion, i.e. a document in which Parliament basically ASKS/EXHORTS the executive to do "stuff". 3/
Among the "stuff" in this case we also have a paragraph asking the government to explore the feasibility of issuing small denomination public security for the purpose of speeding up the payment of PA arrears. This is the famous #minibot passage. 4/
Let's say #minibots are allowed as means to settle PA arrears. As @FabbioSabatini notices, this changes nothing for the creditors UNLESS we assume this instrument is then made liquid. And how do you do that? you allow people to use it in private exchanges (like...currency) 6/
But is this really the objective of the motion? well, this has been the line of reasoning that Lega Eurosceptic intellectuals like Borghi and Bagnai have been expressed many times. @lucianocapone has a few interesting videos of Borghi on this, check them out. 8/
To give value to this 'currency', you allow #minibots to be used to pay future taxes. At which point, you are basically monetizing your deficit by issuing tradable small-denominated securities that act exactly like currency. It's illegal, and you are out of the single currency 7/
Why it matters? Please read also the extensive threads by @FabbioSabatini & @FabioGhironi on this. But in short: in the long-standing talk of #Italexit carried on by Lega "intellectuals" over the years, this was envisioned as the 1st step towards creating a parallel currency 5/
Moreover, let's take a second to look at the procedural way this came about. According to reporting in Italian papers and to opposition MPs' own tweeting (see e.g. @FusacchiA), the point on #minibot was sneaked into the motion just before the vote 10/
Also, @FabioGhironi spotted a tweet by Bagnai on June 4th, where he comparing what he and Borghi are doing to a chess game, in which you need to move your pieces carefully without letting the opposition understand your true intentions. 9/
How so? well, Borghi heads the Lower House budgetary commission. As I had said when his appointment was announced last year, parliamentary commissions in Italy play a very important role, reason why that appointment was not a 'minor' post (like many seemed to think) 11/
...IF the government wanted to take it on board and start looking into #minibot, it could do so and say they have the unanimous backing of all political forces represented in Parliament - which by extension represent all political views in the country. VERY powerful signal. 14/
WHY did the opposition vote for it? it's probably a mix of unawareness (last minute factor) and misunderstanding of the implications (motions are mostly used to express political points, rarely with practical effect). Tbh it's not even the interesting question at this point 12/
Reason why (in my view) the technical bodies freaked out early on, before this became known abroad. Finance Ministry put out a statement saying that #minibots are not needed b/c the State can pay its arrears. The governor of the Bank of Italy said they are extra debt. 15/
The interesting question is what will the government do with it. And here a few points needs mentioning. First, as said, this is a motion and therefore it is non-binding. It does not force, compel, oblige the government to do anything. BUT...13/
But they did not. The reason is obvious: they benefit from being ambiguous about it because a large part of Lega's (and M5S') electorate IS staunchly Eurosceptic. Borghi, Bagnai and their likes were only elected because that constituency exists. 17/
If the government wanted to dispel any doubts about their (frequently advertised) commitment to be in the euro, they could have issued a statement rejecting that particular point of the motion. PM Conte could have seized the occasion of his otherwise useless speech to do it. 16/
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