A liberal Italian list was born this week, supporting Verhofstadt for the European Parliament Elections in May – Scelta Civica, Fermare il Declino and Centro Democratico will take part
A list seen as an “alternative to the forces in power in Berlin,” that is the “intergovernmental alliance” between social democrats and People’s Party that in Germany as well as in Italy “was not able to give a satisfactory solution to the crisis.” It will be called “Scelta Europea,” European Choice, and will be the Italian list supporting the candidacy for the European Commission President submitted by the MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. So far 13 components – parties, movements, foundations – willing to become “a positive alternative” to the “continuous opposition to progress of big parties, such as the Democratic Party and Forza Italia” and of “their European references, Socialists and People’s Party” said Verhofstadt during the press conference for the presentation of the project in Rome. Even the former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi gave a speech by a video message: he talked about “an important project” which groups different personalities “yet with a common program,” something that should be done by other parties too because “if we not get to a single programmatic platform, European Elections will be just national elections with a different ballot.”
The list, which will be part of ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), has among its promoters Niccolò Rinaldi, MEP and ALDE’s Vice President, elected in this term with Italia dei Valori. It will be supported by Scelta Civica, founded bu Mario Monti, by Centro Democratico of Buno Tabacci, by Fermare il Declino, by the European Federalist Party and other subjects and organizations identifying themselves as liberals, but also by Conservatori Sociali (referring to MEP Cristian Muscardini, former MSI, currently among eurosceptics of ECR.
“The alliance between Christian Democrats and Socialists is one of the main things blocking the way to reforms. This is way we want to propose Italians a different vote,” said Rinaldi who, talking of “a project still open to new contributions” assured that “Lists will be composed by high-profile personalities.”
“The socialists led by Martin Schultz were unable to give a real solution to the crisis. Half of Member States has socialist governments” that “still propose their old recipes: going out of the crisis with more debt,” while at the same time “conservatives are not better off, in the other half of Member States’ governments, given that they want to solve everything without changing the status quo,” said Verhofstadt. The proof of that, he added, is…Italy, where “decades of power in Silvio Berlusconi’s hands did not bring the country in the future.”
According to Andrea Romano, head of Scelta Civica at the Italian Camera, this is “an important project because we are trying to get liberals together in a country where, usually, if you have 3 liberals there could be four or even five different associations.” Romano said that ‘Scelta Europea’ will be a “liberal, not liberalist” list, which wants to boost “growth, labour market reform, liberalizations.” According to Ezio Bussoletti, member of Fermare il Declino, “we can, we have to, exit from the European crisis,” but it is necessary to say ‘no’ to “eurosceptics and populists, that are only creating problems,” it is necessary “to use your brain not your tummy.”
Even the Christian Democrat Tabacci said he is in favour of supporting Verhofstadt, defined as a “responsible European leader.” Tabacci added he adhered to ALDE because he does not want to be “blocked by European bi-polar projections,” not the socialist one (“because I am not, and I do not want to become, a socialist”), nor the People’s Party one (“the party is no longer the one of Christian Democrats, it has become something different after the introduction of populist and nationalist components”).