Italy's 2021 year in review: What do Italians think of the 'Draghi effect'?

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By Giorgia Orlandi
People line up at a rapid swab testing site in Rome, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021.
People line up at a rapid swab testing site in Rome, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021.   -  Copyright  Andrew Medichini / AP

Up until a few weeks ago, years of political instability and economic decline seemed to be a thing of the past in Italy, and with so much uncertainty looming over the next few months Italians find it difficult to make predictions for the new year.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been credited with restoring stability and confidence in the country, but if he were to step down to become President, the newfound enthusiasm may soon end.

Italians seem to be divided over whether the "Draghi effect" and what the country has achieved is meant to last.

"If Mario Draghi steps down as Prime Minister, everything will go back to what it was before. Political parties fighting against each other with the extreme right coming back to power," a man told Euronews.

"It will be another difficult year but I think we will all feel more optimistic, as many things have improved. Much of it will depend on whether Draghi will stay or not. I think the positive feedback we have had from the international community is based on his presence," another young woman added.

The country's economy has grown under Draghi's leadership, with the GDP expected to increase by around 6% this year, also thanks to the EU recovery funds and a new set of reforms.

Italy's vaccination rate is one of the highest in Europe but the COVID-19 emergency is not yet over.

"Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a while before we can say the pandemic is over and that we are out of woods," an Italian woman told Euronews.

This issue adds up to the country's longstanding problems including youth unemployment, and one government term is not enough to fix them.

"I think that the so-called 'Draghi effect' has never existed. I think the media have created it and it hasn't brought those benefits Italians had hoped for," revealed an Italian resident.

Italy is known to be a country "for the old", with people claiming the government's focus has been on the elderly for too long and wishing younger generations were given more opportunities.

Whether or not Italians have become more optimistic about their future following the country's positive economic growth forecast is too early to say, but they hope that reforms set in motion by Mario Draghi will be overseen and implemented in the coming months.