Arriverderci Prime Minister Draghi

On Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi's last day in office,the European Council in Brussels sent him off with a long applause and a celebratory video entitled “Arrivederci Mario.”

After 20 months as Italian Prime Minister, in October, Mario Draghi handed over the reins of the country to newly elected Giorgia Meloni. It was an emotional send-off. On his last day, Draghi was bid farewell at the European Council in Brussels with long applause and a celebratory video titled “Arrivederci Mario.”

Draghi, who served as head of the European Central Bank from 2011 to 2018, was appointed PM in February 2021 by Italian President Sergio Mattarella at a time of political turmoil for the country, exacerbated by the raging Covid-19 emergency.

“Draghi became prime minister with the credentials of the man who saved the euro with his famous ‘whatever it takes,’ so many people expected results from his government,” explains Brunello Rosa, CEO and head of research, Rosa&Roubini Associates. “He gave Italy lots of credibility on the world stage, and he leaves the country in good shape, with relatively high growth and a still manageable inflation rate. But the reality has been a bit of a mixed bag.”

Draghi’s government managed to secure around 200 billion euros from the European Union through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. He also addressed post-pandemic issues, introducing measures to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis and, “thanks to his charisma and enormous standing in international circles,” says Lorenzo Codogno, visiting professor at LSE and founder of LC-Macro Advisors, “he elevated Italy as a reliable player at international levels.”

Some observers argue he fell short on some issues: Italy’s large debt continues worrying markets, especially now that the ECB is raising interest rates. Also, a catastrophic energy crisis is looming over the entire region. Being one of the strongest advocates for sanctions against Moscow, Draghi has been blamed for bringing thousands of businesses to the verge of bankruptcy.

Even so, his international reputation remains strong. Although 75, far from retiring, he’s rumored to be a potential pick as next president of the EU Commission or the EU Council, and he’s said to be among the top candidates to lead organizations such as the IMF or NATO. This is not likely to be his last good-bye.