He already made clear that banging his fist in Brussels to relax the eurozone's rigorous budget rules is high on his list of priorities. He also seems keen on getting cosy with Russia.
The European Union is not happy, Italian bonds are doing badly on the markets, and Trumpist impresario Steve Bannon – recently in Rome gallivanting on rooftops and having over the creme de la creme of the Nationalist International, including leaders from the League and Five Star – is hailing Italy as the epicentre of the populist revolution he has been peddling all over Europe. Among all the drama and the coattail-riding, one thing about Italy's new government has almost gone unnoticed. This is not a populist government; it is a techno-populist one.
The Conte cabinet is a chimeric organism. Within it, populist and extremist politicians cohabit with the very best of Italy's technocratic elite. While both the League's Matteo Salvini and Five Star's Luigi Di Maio have been assigned ministerial posts to pursue their political hobby horses, the key levers of power are in technocratic hands: the Minister of Foreign Affairs is a former EU official; the Treasury is run by a university dean; Conte himself— a civil law professor whose face and voice had never been heard and seen by any Italian up until a couple of weeks ago— is a technocrat through and through.