After a long recession, Italians have enjoyed three precious years of growth: but now the country is stalling again as its populist leaders wrangle with the EU

Giuseppe Pasini, the president of Italian steelmaker Feralpi, based in the northern province of Brescia, has reason to be concerned. When Italy finally emerged from its crushing triple-dip recession in 2015, Brescia, an important European industrial hub some 50 miles east of Milan, enjoyed uninterrupted growth.

But after the general elections in early March the economy started to slow, and in the most recent months it has ground to a halt. “After three years of optimum growth, between June and September our economy slowed to 0.1% [down from 1.3% in Q1 and 0.6% in Q2]. This came as a shock,” said Pasini, who also heads Brescia’s industrial association. “Businesses are worried; this slowdown could be particularly dangerous in 2019, not just for Brescia but for the entire country, as our region is considered a driver for the rest of the economy.”

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Author: Angela Giuffrida in Rome