New Italy Government is Against Everything Established. Italy’s new government is as anti-European as any other in the post-war era. How could it come to this? And how could the EU react?
According to the CNN News, Italy has a government that is as hostile to the EU as no Italian government ever was in the post-war era. Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega, is a confessed fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And Luigi Di Maios M5S sits in the European Parliament with Nigel Farage in a faction, the architect of Brexit. Now govern the two Italy, a founding member of the EU. And now?
The complaints about the developments obscure an obvious question: what if the Italians show Europeans the way to the future? It would not be the first time: Hitler followed Mussolini, Berlusconi followed by Trump. So there is a good reason to take Italy seriously.
Populism and xenophobia, these are the two terms that now fall with regularity when Di Maio and Salvini are mentioned. But these terms disguise more than they explain. Do they not answer the question: how did it even come to that? And what is to be done now? At least three reasons for the rise Salvinis and Di Maios must be spoken.
There is the complete failure of the Italian political caste. By 1992, all political parties had been devoured by a vast corruption scandal. That was a disaster – and it was a chance for a fresh start. It was not used.
Almost thirty years later, the political caste is corrupt to the bone, with a difference to earlier times: then politicians stole for the party, today they take for themselves. Politics has privatised. The res publica has dissolved. Corruption is the self-centeredness, cynicism and incompetence of this caste. The disgust has driven millions of voters to M5S.
Italy has a problem with migration, as do many other European Union countries. For a start, that has little to do with xenophobia. Many people come from outside of Europe in a brief time to a country that has been hit by a deep economic crisis for ten years now. Those who said in recent years that Italy was more receptive than other European nations, closed their eyes to the rise of the Lega. The welcome Italian culture was a fairytale that represented only a small part of reality.
The other part: Italy’s borders are not as secure to close as Denmark or Austria. Italy is located on the Mediterranean. The geographical situation determined its migration policy – although one should not speak of politics, because there was no will and power to shape migration. Italy needed more support from the EU in all of this, but it did not come. Neither from Germany nor Austria and she did not come from the European Emmanuel Macron led France. The Italians felt abandoned. That’s one of the reasons why the Lega scored 17 percent in the March 4 election – and now stands at 25 percent in polls. An EU that can not control its borders will not be able to survive. That’s one of the Italian lessons.