Italy expected to retain key "broker" role on Brexit if Renzi quits

Mark Sands
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Renzi has warned he could quit if he loses a referendum on reform (Source: Getty)

Italy is likely to retain a broking role in Brexit talks, despite uncertainty over Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Renzi could quit next week if he loses a referendum on political reform, but experts play down any change in how Italy views Brexit.

“[Italy] does not seek to profit from the negotiations or to punish the Brits as some other European capitals seem to be doing,” Centre for European Reform expert Luigi Scazzieri told City A.M.

“This won’t change if Renzi resigns as it is more of an institutional position than a personal one.”

Read More: Q&A: What you need to know about the Italian referendum

And defeat for Renzi would not automatically mean an election, meaning prospects of a government led by populist Eurosceptics Five Stars may also be limited.

Instead, Open Europe senior policy expert Vincenzo Scarpetta predicts incumbent finance minister and respected technocrat Pier Carlo Padoan could take over.

"Italy has less skin in the game because it trades with the UK a lot less than France or Germany, and has a smaller stake of foreign direct investment, and therefore it sees itself as a broker," Scarpetta said.

"But if there is to be an interim government, it would be supported by the same majority and I wouldn't think Italy's position would change dramatically."

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