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WEDDINGS

Planning a wedding in Italy this year? ‘Be patient’, says PM

Those hoping to get married in Italy this year will get an update after a key government meeting on Monday May 17th, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has promised.

Planning a wedding in Italy this year? 'Be patient', says PM
Couples hoping to tie the knot are still waiting to hear if their wedding can go ahead in Italy. Photo: Foto Pettine / Unsplash

Waiting for news on whether weddings can go ahead has caused much frustration to people hoping to walk down the aisle in Italy this year.

Many couples have already postponed from 2020 and some are unsure whether they’ll have to push back their big day another year, as the Italian government hasn’t yet approved any new Covid-related guidelines for wedding ceremonies or receptions.

READ ALSO: ‘We’re exhausted’: What it’s like planning a wedding in Italy during the pandemic

Although there are still no firm decisions, Draghi has indicated that an announcement will be made next week.

“Celebration is something we all want, but it is essential to have a little more patience to prevent a joyous occasion from turning into a risk for those taking part,” he told parliament during prime minister’s question time on Wednesday evening.

Weddings will be discussed at the next steering committee on Monday 17th May, he promised, when the government will look at how to “give greater certainty” to the sector.

The government has earmarked €200 million from the current Support Decree (Decreto Sostegni) to help an industry significantly affected by the pandemic, according to Draghi.

“The government is careful to balance the economy with health, and weddings, as occasions for gatherings, can foster infections. We need to take a gradual approach based on epidemiological trends,” he cautioned.

Distanced and in masks: Italian weddings in times of Covid look like this. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

At the moment, wedding receptions – indoor or outdoor – are not allowed.

Both civil and religious wedding ceremonies are permitted, although with restrictions in place including a limit on the number of guests at venues, distancing, and mandatory mask-wearing.

And the maximum number of attendees allowed at wedding ceremonies currently depends on the venue and on local rules where you get married.

This is likely to continue to be the case, no matter what the government decides the wedding protocol will be for 2021.

READ ALSO: 

Waiting to hear whether weddings can go ahead are also tied up with possible changes to Italy’s travel rules this summer. For international couples with wedding guests trying to organise flights and hotels, this is proving an added headache.

The Italian government said in early May that it would allow tourism to restart from mid-May using a new ‘green pass’ for vaccinated or tested travellers, including those from outside the EU.

But no firm date has been given, and ministers have since indicated that visitors from the EU, UK or Israel would be allowed back without quarantine first while other countries would have to wait until June.

For more information on the current restrictions see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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POLITICS

Italy faces September elections after Draghi resigns

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella dissolved parliament on Thursday, triggering snap elections in September which could bring the hard right to power after bickering parties toppled the government.

Italy faces September elections after Draghi resigns

Elections will take place on September 25th, a government source told AFP, while the internationally-respected Draghi will stay on as head of government until then.

Dissolving parliament was always a last resort, Mattarella said, but in this case a lack of consensus among the parties that had made up Draghi’s national unity government made it “inevitable”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s Draghi steps down after government implodes

Italy was facing challenges, however, that could not be put on the backburner while the parties campaigned, he said.

There could be no “pauses in the essential interventions to combat the effects of the economic and social crisis, and in particular the rise in inflation”.

Based on current polls, a rightist alliance led by Giorgia Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party would comfortably win a snap vote.

“No more excuses”, tweeted Meloni, 45, who vociferously led the opposition throughout Draghi’s term and has long called for fresh elections.

On Wednesday, he attempted to save the government, urging his squabbling coalition to put aside their grievances for the sake of the country.

But three parties – Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia, Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant League and the populist Five Star Movement – said it was no longer possible for them to work together.

The stunned centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which had supported Draghi, said its hopes were now pinned on Italians being “wiser than their MPs”.

Draghi’s downfall comes despite recent polls suggesting most Italians wanted him to stay at the helm until the scheduled general election next May.

TIMELINE: What happens next in Italy’s government crisis?

Members of Italy’s government applaud Mario Draghi upon his arrival to announce his resignation to parliament on July 21st, 2022. Photo by FABIO FRUSTACI / AFP

The Brothers of Italy party, which has neo-fascist roots, is leading in the polls, with 23.9 percent of voter intentions, according to a SWG survey held three days before Draghi’s resignation.

To win a majority it would need the support of the League (polling at 14 percent) and Forza Italia (7.4 percent).

Anxious investors were watching closely as the coalition imploded. Concerns rose that a government collapse would worsen social ills in a period of rampant inflation, delay the budget, threaten EU post-pandemic recovery funds and send jittery markets into a tailspin.
 
Should a Brothers of Italy-led coalition win, it “would offer a much more disruptive scenario for Italy and the EU”, wrote Luigi Scazzieri, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

Research consultancy Capital Economics said, however, there were “powerful fiscal and monetary incentives” for the next government to implement the reforms demanded by the European Union, or risk missing out on post-pandemic recovery funds worth billions of euros.

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