Six Italian Characters In Search Of Europe – OpEd

Today, when Jacques Delors is commemorated, the Italian debate on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), yes or no, shows the almost total lack of international inspiration of Italian politicians. 

To pay tribute to the greatest European committee chairman ever – closely followed by Mr Prodi – it must be remembered that when Mitterrand asked Jacques Delors to be Prime Minister, he would have accepted if he could have continued to be Finance Minister. Here there is a principle that the opposers of the ESM pretend to ignore: Europe needs sound finance. It is the only weapon it possesses to avoid being shattered by the opposing military blocs. 

And  proof of this is the lack of political credibility of Ursula von der Leyen, the current unimpressive President who, having had the good fortune to be elected after a pseudo-non-existence Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxembourg (note that Luxembourg is the only nation to have had 3 presidents), has managed to sink Europe into the total grayness of a foreign policy without the slightest european inspiration.

It would be unfair not to consider the fact that the most important solid link in foreign policy has to be with the United States, that is natural and fundamental, but the fact that a total flattening of an anti-Russian policy is not in the correct European inspiration is a factor of which the current President has shown that she does not understand and of which she is guilty. Russia is part of Europe, not only for geographical reasons but also for very solid cultural reasons.

Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nureyev, Bolshoi, and a very long artistic list of cultural links show that Russia is and will be always an integral part of Europe. It is on this basis that Russia must be treated. On that basis treated by De Gaulle, of Mitterrand. Or also based on relation of Reagan and Gorbaciov. But on what basis can Europe exist? Delors, a socialist, teaches, on the obvious basis of financial balances.

But the death of Delors shows that, unfortunately, Italian politicians are totally indifferent to international problems. This is demonstrated by two facts:

The first is that 2024 is the year in which half the planet’s population will go to the polls. Taiwan will open the game on  January 13, and  the United States will close it on November 5. In the interval, Mexico, Bangladesh, a dozen African states, Russia, India and, of course, Europe will go to the polls. The world could change radically, but no Italian politician is talking about it. What are we talking about? ESM – yes, ESM -no.  

The second fact is the way in which the politicians who have challenged each other on the ESM have managed to fully confuse citizens about its meaning. If we were to carry out a survey on how Italians think about the ESM, we would discover that 99.99% have no idea what it is, but everyone is in favor of yes or no. But on what basis do they do it?  

They do so on the basis of a pre-judgement based on a solid common error: for Italian politicians, Europe is at our service and we are not at the service of Europe. It’s a ridiculous approach, Italy without Europe is a small boat in the middle of the sea. And here the reference to Delors makes us suffer, the politician who gave up being Mitterrand’s successor to devote himself to Europe. 

And at the same time we have to remind the politicians of today the names of six great people who have made Europe.

Alcide de Gasperi, Altiero Spinelli, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer and Paul-Henri Spaak, to whom I would add Mitterrand and for his role in the unification of Germany

And what about today’s Italy? 

If Luigi Pirandello, Nobel Prize winner for literature, could rewrite his masterpiece of restlessness –  six characters in search of an author – (anticipating Pessoa’s manual of every restlessness el Livro do Desassosiego) the debate on the ESM would give him ample material for his text. Based on disquiet from ESM biases. Here are the six characters in search of an author that live on pre-judice of Europe.

Conte, the Father of all prejudices, voted for EMS as PM then voted against EMS as a congressman.  

Meloni, present PM, the Mother of all prejudices, wants to be pro-European, but gives in to anti-European nostalgia. She is afraid that Salvini will steal the show and votes aganst EMS. 

Giorgetti, the stepson of the play, the Minister of Finance, would like to vote for the ESM, but he cannot be angry with his Boss Salvini. 

Salvini, the anti-European son, like all parricides, would not exist if he did not have a father to kill. 

Tajani, the young heir of the Play, is the heir of Berlusconi. He would like to dictate pro-European policy, but he misses Silvio 

Schlein, the little girl of the play, who is supposed to be a leader on the left. Will she be able to play that role?

Mes amis, please vote EMS, let’s not play with fire. Europe is waiting for the 2024 elections.

In the meantime while waiting for politicians of Delors’ lineage, let’s celebrate Sofia Corradi. A name unknown to most. An exceptional woman, whose existence I didn’t know about until a professor at Tor Vergata informed me about her. She is the extraordinary creator of the Erasmus program, the most spectacular student exchange program in the world. The name comes from Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of the greatest multicultural intellects ever. Sofia Corradi is called Erasmus’ mother. Delors, in his pro-European vision, financed the Erasmus program, but Sofia created it. The mother, has 3 million children so far from all European nations. Italian politicians. Copy good examples. It’s never too late.