The row surrounding Rome’s nominee to the European Commission is set to have a knock-on effect on domestic Italian politics. Rocco Buttiglione has now stood aside after opposition from the European Parliament to his conservative Catholic views. That leaves a position open and there is speculation that Foreign Minister Franco Frattini could be named to take Buttiglione’s place in Brussels.
It is reported a cabinet reshuffle will be announced on Wednesday, after all four coalition parties have met to thrash out the details. The changes will not be easy for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. While the Buttiglione affair may be more or less over, the Italian leader still has to settle his tax cut row with Gianfranco Fini.
He is currently the deputy PM, but the reshuffle could see him moved to Foreign Affairs. However, Fini will not be keen to step sideways until the tax issue is dealt with. He wants Berlusconi to drop plans to slice taxes for the rich and instead to direct his reform at the middle class and poor.