Relations (to be changed) between Italy and Europe

Relations (to be changed) between Italy and Europe

Gianfranco Polillo's analysis

With great lucidity and clarity, Antonio Polito, from the pages of Corriere della Sera , tried to explain how complex the relationship is, not only between Italy, but between each country and the European Union.

It is worth returning to the subject, first of all because, as the Latins said, repetita iuvant. From this point of view, the above considerations are difficult to contest. By deciding to invest 200 billion euros to face, alone , the increase in the cost of bills – says the columnist of Via Solferino – Germany has "reversed the course that Europe had taken during the pandemic". It has preferred to use its greater financial resources, which very few other countries have available, to go it alone. Instead of trying the undoubtedly more difficult path, but a winning one, in the medium term, of a common response. Read the price cap which, as Giorgia Meloni had observed, would not have limited itself to compensating for the speculation on gas, but tried to stop it (Words always by Polito). In this second case, we add, they would also have come to terms with those countries, such as Norway and Holland, which are trailing behind Putin's strategy. Not that they support it, but they benefit from it. Being, in turn, among the major producers of gas, they make extra profits, thanks to the increase in a price, such as that of gas, which is above all the result of unprecedented speculation. As is well known, Holland is part of the so-called "frugal" group. Chatter and distinctive: one could say, paraphrasing the famous Al Capone joke, in Brian De Palma's film. Easy to look at the speck in the eyes of others. While as regards Norway, it is only part of NATO: it is not a member of the EU. Instead, it participates in EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and EEA (European Economic Area). An obvious asymmetry. The rights that are inherent in these positions do not correspond to equally demanding duties, in the sign of mutual solidarity. It is these contradictions that lead Polito to say that “the European Union: it is not perpetual peace in the competition between states, but it is their only playing field, the system of common rules. The fact that Germany tries to play alone today makes it even more necessary for us to continue to be in that field, the only one where we can win. Maybe because another fourteen out of 27 players (including France) are with us, and have signed a joint request for a gas cap. " This opens, instead of closing, the discussion.

How can the interests of individual states coexist with the "system of common rules" of which Polito speaks? The first thing to understand is that in Europe the logic of "take it or leave it" is only a loser. If the exit strategy did not give the desired results for a country like Great Britain, with all its imperial past; how can it be invoked for the Italian reality? But not even "taking", without arguing just because "Europe asks for it", can be further tolerated. In the past this formula was mainly used by a management group that did not have all the rules to govern the country. And therefore he needed all the support of a foreign pope.

It follows that the only position, capable of saving goats to hell, is that of negotiation. But on condition of being capable of it. Which, in the past, has proved to be a more than rare commodity. In the economic and social reality of a continent, populated by nearly 450 million people, there is never a single solution to the various problems. On the contrary, the possible answers are always multiple, so finding what, at the same time, can satisfy the specific interest of the single country and has the strength to impose itself as a general rule, is a difficult exercise. It requires the ability to confront, but above all a diligent and qualified participation in the complex process of making the final decision.

It must be recognized that, in the past, Italy has rarely shown this ability. In the places that really matter in the European techno-structure, the Italian presence is more than modest. The various ministries, from which the first technical input on which to build future decisions should start, consider the EU a distant and mysterious world. Relations with the permanent representatives in Brussels are episodic. The exchange of ideas is not very fluid. These are the weaknesses of the Italian bureaucracy that, with limited exceptions, illuminate the European night, in a competitive confrontation almost always lost at the start. For the simple fact that other countries dedicate time and money to it, while Italy still tends to slip away.

It is the importance of the back office which, in our country, is almost always neglected. When, on the other hand, the expert on merit should always support that of the method: that is, the negotiator who is entrusted with the task of definitive mediation. In reality, this graft is quite rare. Although there is no lack of comforting examples. As is the case, for example, in the economic and financial fields. Except, in this case, the national terminal is the Bank of Italy, a white fly in the Italian institutional landscape. Mario Draghi himself, without wanting to deny anything to his intrinsic personal value, was able to excel in comparison with other ECB presidents, thanks to this different background. It is also thanks to it he was able to withstand the harsh confrontation with the representatives of the Bundesbank. If this is true, it follows that it will not be easy to change the relations which, up to now, have characterized Italy's ties with the EU.

The necessary political will must be accompanied by the different way of operating of a public administration, currently too closed in its own autarkic and self-referential borders. Process that will require a strong external stimulus, to push it to take different paths from the past. Thanks to the authority of a political staff, able to guide and encourage you. But also to overcome the inevitable resistance.

In short, a “high profile executive”, as a pre-condition for the necessary change, as Giorgia Meloni usually repeats. In the hope that the coalition logic does not impose a heavy downside game in the end.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Mon, 03 Oct 2022 07:55:05 +0000.