More Europe against populism: for a new Liberal and Democratic generation

In this blog post, Emanuele Lombardini discusses the behavior of Italy towards Europe and current issues.

More Europe against the populist drift. This is what Italy needs in politics at this moment.  Italy holds the presidency of the European Parliament (Antonio Tajani) and the High Representative of the EU Foreign Affairs (Federica Mogherini). It has very important roles, but on its own soil seems incapable of stopping the rise of anti-European movements.

Not only Lega Nord, but also Five Star Movement and some other pro-sovereignty movements are finding fertile soil to cultivate in the anger of the Italian population. The main causes are the difficult economic situation, mistakes in managing migration flows and absence of a real “Culture” of Europe.

To look at what happens out in the world has never been a big feature of Italians, and goes some way to explain the absence of a Liberal movement in the Italian political landscape.  In Italy, the Liberal Party had a great influence on the national political scene until 1994, but today, after the scandal involving the Italian political system in the mid-1990s – the so-called “Mani pulite” (Clean hands), it has just one Senate representative. There is also a small party called Liberals and Democrats, a movement founded by former Prime Minister Lamberto Dini, but it has no representatives in Parliament. Apart from pro-sovereignty campaigners and Nationalists, the Italian political scene is now dominated by two great parties in which ideologies are blurred and mixed together.

For all the reasons above, it seems to be necessary and urgent to create a European spirit, in order to stimulate in young Italians a new knowledge of the importance of EU institutions renewed. This role is for Liberals and Democrats, and they have the strength to do it.  This will be the case, for example, showing and demonstrating more Europe is important for each country because, without the support of EU, there will be no chance of becoming competitive with USA, China and the rest of the world.

Young Italians want fair, free and open society, a prosperous Europe, civil rights and to be protagonists in a EU that makes them able to enhance their abilities and seize opportunities. However, populist movements turn towards the same audience. So our role is to rebuild European sense among young Italians. Is it an uphill road? Maybe, but the constantly growing number of a new generation of Italian Liberals and Democrats give this challenge a chance of success.

To say it with the words of a famous Italian song (“Insieme: 1992”, written by Toto Cutugno – who won the Eurovision in 1990 – to celebrate the Maastricht Treaty): “Dammi la mano e vedrai si vola: insieme Unite Unite Europe” (Give me your hand and you’ll see you’re flying: together, Unite Unite Europe”).

Emanuele Lombardini

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