It didn’t go too badly for Europe in this electoral campaign which is near the end. It was talked about and this is already a step forward, and that it was done in the last few years even in all the other EU countries where people voted. In our parts the debate was a little worse, often in a confused and chauvinistic way, but at least everyone bears in mind that Italy is member of the EU.
There are some who took it patriotically like Francesco Storace, the “Right Wing” (La Destra) leader, who plastered Lazio with billboards the slogan printed on top of a photo of Angela Merkel, claiming Italians have the right to choose their own government. At least he realized that we are in a system where, even “foreign” leaders can have a position with domestic significance. There is also Beppe Grillo, to say the truth you can’t understand which stance he takes and in his program he theatrically ignores Europe. “We are not mature enough yet to discuss it,” a candidate of M5S (Grillo’s party) says candidly.
The others speak about it though, and how. Silvio Berlusconi is a loudmouth, promising to break off, threatening to abandon the Euro, and saying the European leaders don’t give a damn about him. Unfortunately it’s true; it is what he has always done and it is exactly the reason for his downfall, having isolated Italy in relation to the Ventisette (27 members of EU). Be he realizes the EU exists, that it cannot be ignored, at least formally, at least for the time being – long enough to set up a government that would last as long as possible, and he declares himself to be “the biggest Europeanist of them all.” The others leaders of the EPP (European People’s Party) don’t see it this way, and they sostitued him by Mario Monti as Italian best candidate for the EPP.
The professor is clearly the one who understands the most about Europe. The European leaders chose him as Italian Prime Minister; Giorgio Napolitano favored this course, at the time maybe, later to repent when Monti “went into” politics. The President of the Republic hadn’t understood the man’s ambition and gratification, the strong pressure, probably invincible, that in Europe it would have been up to him to candidate himself for Prime Minister. Monti is certainly a man who comes from “strong power,” but not hidden because it is public knowledge that he comes from banking and finance with certain politics and objectives. He doesn’t hide this and in these 13 months in Europe he acted with affirmation: he bowed out when it was unavoidable and often legitimate, but he also dug his heels in (and won) when he deemed it necessary and when he could. Certainly he knows where he is what the rules of the game are.
Then there is Pierluigi Bersani, who also talks about Europe frequently. As Berlusconi did he also began his election campaign in Brussels and in the last year he went there at least 3 or 4 times. The last time was to meet the Institutional bigwigs of the EU, to whom he personally presented himself and his credentials and those of the Pd (Democratic Party), a party that more than others sustained Monti’s actions in Europe. The meetings went well, even instigating a certain enthusiasm on the part of the Luxembourger Jean-Claude Juncker , who at the time was President of the Eurogroup (Finance Ministers of Euro zone). Even Bersani knows all too well that our actions and our future are within the Union and he reasons on that basis.
So they talked about Europe and it is clear what their positions and platforms are. This time the voters, even if still a bit confused or sometimes wrong, were faced with a political framework with a slightly larger reference (it is truer how much influence it has in their lives) than just the Italian one. They have a few extra means from which to choose.