Video interview with italian undersecretary at the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova

In this video interview made by our blog coordinator Emanuele Lombardini, the Italian undersecretary at the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova, also one of the founders of the liberal democratic list + Europa, talks about the need to bring back Europe at the center of the Italian political debate and of the  role of the EU for a real Italian growth

Interview was made during an electoral event organized in Terni, middle of Italy, by + Europa.  Italian language, english subtitles.

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An Interview with Dr. Mahmoud el Alaily, President of Free Egyptians Party

In this piece Thalia Ntoka had an interview with Mahmoud El Alaily, president of Free Egyptians Party and ALDE Liberal Member. He speaks about perspectives for liberalism in Egypt and connections with Europe.

I met Dr. Mahmud el Alaily during the Congress in Amsterdam and I was impressed by his passion for liberalism. He is already an ALDE Party Individual Member working hard for the growth of the liberal movement in Egypt and interested in sharing his vision and political experience.

You are the President of “FEP – Free Egyptians Party”. How old is this party and what is its purpose in Egypt?  

Our party was founded in April 2011 after revolution of the 25th of January, it was mainly founded at that time to represent the growing liberal movement and the revolutionary youth, raising the values of freedom, democracy, citizenship and respecting human rights. In the meantime-since most of the founders were from economic background- the issue of free market economy was a key stone and was very clear in our campaigns in a country of a recent socialist background , coming up with new clear ideas for economic reformation .

It was also clear at that time that the country needed a strong party to represent the civil movement against the upraising Islamic stream at that time. Especially the very well organized Moslem Brothers and the Salafies. So the FEP was one of those and we played a very important role against them crawling all over the country before and during the year they ruled.

Are there any structural elements that prevent Egypt from fully becoming a liberal country?

Sure there are, especially traditions, and also very important is the influence of islamists on the religious mind set of the majority of the population and subsequently on the decision making. Also the effect of the successive authoritarian regimes which ruled the country since 1952 emphasized the parental ideas in the minds of both the people and the governments.

Putting all these elements together explains the obstacles that may face Egypt to transform to a fully liberal country soon which I find it extremely difficult, but never impossible.

Why you joined the ALDE Party and how you think we should work together so that our friends in Egypt stay more connected with Europe?

As in the last few years I worked very closely with some of the liberal institutions like LI and African liberal network (ALN). Being president of Arab Liberal Federation (ALF) I found it very important to join ALDE party at that point of time to go through real liberal political experience and to learn how to apply liberal values in politics without hindrance or suppression.

People in Egypt are by default connected to Europe, but the real problem is to connect them to European values, which most of them fear as imported western values which they believe are against our consrvative traditional values and of course against religion. So it is very important to start explaining that those are global human values for everyone on earth not restricted to a couple of countries or certain race and color.

Is there a country in Europe, you think Egypt has more similarities to and what is that you would wish for 2018 for your country?

Can’t name any specific country, as the circumstances are totally different, but maybe the ex-socialist countries maybe the nearest especially on the grounds of democratization process and its fluctuations, and changing the mindset towards values of freedom and human rights from the perspective of both the citizens and the authorities.

Wishing that Egypt will start flourishing somehow after the radical economic reformation steps that took place through the past few years. Also hoping also that the authorities there would be able to combat the growing terrorism and terrorist groups, stopping the stream of fundamentalism, extremism and radicalism, giving some space for real political reformation without excuses from security threats or economical uncertainty.

Thalia Ntoka

XENOPHOBIA OF ONE USUAL DAY

In this contribution, Massimo Ricciuti talks about Xenophobia, a phenomenon in great growth also in Italy. Even in daily life, discrimination increases

A modern town centre. An elegant street with ancient buildings, some offices, among them there is the Institute Grenoble, the French school which I attended in my younger years, and then there is a bank. I went inside the bank and made a bank transfer, insodoing signing up for the Italian Federation of Human Rights.

With the news that the Helsinki Committee are to open a new office in my city, I’m in a good mood as I complete this transfer. Leaving the bank, I continue walking on this street – that I know very well and where I grew up.

I became then became a witness to a scene. A bunch of well-dressed, good-looking kids surrounded an ethnic minority man working as a florist. They harassed, tugged and teased this peacefully working man. They were around the age of my children. The florist didn’t react, even as they continued to insultt him, and devastate his small shop. I looked around, and it seemed nobody wanted to intervene, just passing by with total indifference. I quickly stood between the kids and the man with trying to stop this street violence.

To my shock, when I asked what they were doing, one boy replied: “Nothing, he is a black man…” I was shocked. One of the boys finally apologised after I told him off but I am not sure that any of this really taught the boys a lesson, as they continued to laugh as they run away. The young vendor and I looked at each other silently as I helped him rearrange his things and tidy up. I apologised for what happened although it was difficult to find the right words to do so. Instead, he smiled at me and said: “It’s only a child. Don’t worry. I’m used to it” He told me his name was Nimal.. I still felt embarrassed, I asked him how much would a bunch of red carnations would cost. He picked the freshest ones up and wrapped with paper it for me and told me I owed him nothing as he gave the flowers to me with a kind smile. I didn’t insist. I thanked him and got my bouquet of flowers and with a smile, I walked home.

I reflected on the day’s events. These children were so young, and had already started to so casually display xenophobia. Just one step away from fascism, I thought to myself.

The newspapers write about the declarations of extreme right-wing politicians during elections. Some politicians speak about the purity of the white race, some about defending their country’s values from the ‘invasion’ of immigrants. Some write about concern for ‘our’ women, and also that they have to back to be better mothers. Some weeks have passed since these events, and every time when I pass through the shop of my friend, the florist, I buy a bunch of flowers for my wife and my daughter.

Fresh beautiful flowers from my friend, Nimal.

Massimo Ricciuti

+EUROPA, NO MORE SIGNATURES TO COLLECT: A GREAT VICTORY FOR LIBERALISM AND DEMOCRACY

In this contribution, our blog coordinator Emanuele Lombardini, talks about some important news regarding +Europa, the new liberal democratic and pro-European Italian movement: it will be allowed to compete in the next political elections thanks to a gesture of democracy made by a very different party.

Liberalism in Italy is still alive. Not that it had ever died, for heaven’s sake, but certainly the long absence from Parliament of a true party that expresses liberal democratic and pro-European values ​​has, over the years, contributed a lot to lowering the awareness among Italian people of the importance of the EU for national growth, giving space to populists and neo-fascist drifts.

In a press conference, former European Commissioner Emma Bonino, and one of the leaders of +Europa, announced the new pro-European, federalist and liberal democratic Italian movement will not anymore have to collect signatures and will be officially allowed to compete in the next election race.  The news has enormous importance for European and Italian Liberalism because Italian voters now have the chance to choose a really liberal democratic proposal, the only real opposition to the racist and populist drift that is slipping country into chaos.

This was made possible thanks to Bruno Tabacci, a politician whose roots are very far from Emma Bonino’s.  Tabacci is founder and leader of Centro Democratico, a small Catholic-inspired party born of one of the many splits of the ancient Democrazia Cristiana. During the same press conference Tabacci announced that Centro Democratico will  join +Europa. Tabacci’s party is already represented in the Italian Parliament after the 2013 elections (it gained a seat as part of “Italia Bene commune” coalition), and this fact gives +Europa the right to compete in the next electoral round. According to Italian law, all the parties present in the current parliament are automatically allowed to compete in the next one, whether they present themselves alone or together with a group of parties under a common symbol and name.

Centro Democratico and Tabacci therefore become the fourth member of + Europa, alongside Radicali Italiani, Forza Europa and political association Movimenta.

Bruno Tabacci’s decision has great importance because it recognises two important aspects: firstly that Italy absolutely needs a really liberal democratic and europeist party (Partito Liberale Italiano choose to join the centre right side, together with populists and nationalists) and secondly that it is important that each party has the same chances to compete. Tabacci said: “I want my gesture to be considered a contribution to democracy. I decided to make the symbol of my party available for +Europa to recover a dimension of freedom that I consider fundamental. If there had not been Emma Bonino’s list we would all have been poorer”. This decision was really a great message of democracy: even if Radicali and CD share some challenges and topics, they are very far apart in some other areas. It must be said that in the 2014 European elections Centro Democratico appeared alongside  liberal democratic movements in Italy: the white and orange CD symbol was within the one of “Scelta Europea con Guy Verhofstadt” and Tabacci was also one of the unlucky candidates on the same list. Tabacci himself took part in the last pro-European meeting that was held in Rome and of which Liberal Words wrote: “It’s time to take a step towards democracy. This is why I was there, at a pro-European gathering in Rome – he said – Our different points of view in some topics are not a problem”.

Tabacci is the only politician who took concrete action to save the chance to give Italian voters the chance to choose a pro-European proposal.  Other politicians, both in centre-left and in the centre-right side, only expressed words of appreciation for Emma Bonino, but none of them gave any real help to reduce or avoid the collection of signatures. It was only thanks to an amendment within the budget law, after a letter written by  Emma Bonino, Forza Europa leader Benedetto Della Vedova and Radicali Italiani secretary Riccardo Magi to premier Paolo Gentiloni, that +Europa obtained permission to reduce the required number of signatures to be collected from 50.000 to 25.000. So now, no more signatures are needed. But both Radicali Italiani and Forza will remain committed together to fight the new electoral law, a fight for democracy: other lists in fact do still have the trouble of collecting signatures.

European liberalism can therefore hope to have its representatives in the Italian government, which is certainly a big step forward compared to the past. But it’s only now that the real battle begins.  Many people in Italy believe that + Europe may be the real surprise of the upcoming elections and that it can also attract the votes of some disgruntled people who in the past had supported the Democratic Party, especially if +Europa presents itself alone, without allies.

Emma Bonino is a widely respected politician and her battles have reached cross-party to create consensus among the various political affiliations. This is driving + Europa, that now seems much closer than before to reach 3% of voters, the minimum in order to elect their representatives in Parliament if they choose to go alone (while within a coalition it is sufficient to reach 1%) and that is why now the Democratic Party, until now very closed to discuss about an alliance,  reopened the dialogue in the search of a political agreement. The race to bring Europe back to the centre of Italian political debate has begun!

Emanuele Lombardini

Armonizzazione del prodotto pensionistico paneuropeo

In this contribution in italian,  Massimo Ricciuti talks about PEPP (Pan European Personal product), a transnational and pan-European supplementary welfare system on which the European Commission formulated a proposal

L’Europa c’è! La Commissione Europea è al lavoro sul  delicatissimo tema della regolamentazione di un sistema di previdenza integrativa di carattere transnazionale e paneuropeo.

Con il PEPP entriamo nel vivo di uno dei “needing” che sono più avvertiti dalle nuove generazioni che vedono un futuro sempre più evanescente e istituzioni lontane dai loro bisogni.

Ma finalmente si può segnalare a alta voce che la UE è invece vicina e attiva più di quanto ci si possa immaginare. E, smentendo tutte le fake che rindondano sui social e nei bar, possiamo dimostrarlo.

Perchè il PEPP?

Dopo l’esplosione della più grande crisi economica dal 1929 a oggi la qualità del tenore di vita della classe media (e non solo) si è notevolmente ridotta. Assicurarsi un futuro decente è diventato il bisogno profondo più urgente da affrontare. Chi  vuole risparmiare di più per la pensione deve poter contare su una maggiore scelta di prodotti previdenziali individuali adeguati e fondati su investimenti sui mercati dei capitali. Un’ulteriore sfida di politica pubblica è la necessità di assicurare a lungo termine redditi da pensione sufficienti combinando pensioni pubbliche, pensioni aziendali e professionali e pensioni individuali.

La frammentazione del mercato impedisce ai fornitori di pensioni individuali di massimizzare la diversificazione del rischio, l’innovazione e le economie di scala, il che limita la scelta e l’attrattiva e fa aumentare i costi per quanti risparmiano a fini pensionistici. Inoltre, alcuni dei prodotti pensionistici individuali presentano carenze e la loro disponibilità e portabilità TRANSFRONTALIERA sono limitate, mentre è quasi inesistente l’attività transfrontaliera di fornitori e risparmiatori.

Cos’è il PEPP?

Un’iniziativa della UE sulle pensioni individuali potrebbe perciò integrare le attuali norme divergenti a livello nazionale e dell’UE creando un quadro PANEUROPEO per le pensioni (ovviamente per chi desidera avvalersi di questa opzione di risparmio supplementare).

Tale iniziativa (che non sostituirà gli schemi per ora esistenti nazionallmente) introdurrà un nuovo quadro per il risparmio volontario garantendo un’adeguata tutela dei consumatori per quanto riguarda le caratteristiche essenziali del prodotto. Inoltre incoraggerà i fornitori a investire in modo sostenibile nell’economia reale nel lungo periodo in linea con le obbligazioni a lungo termine del prodotto pensionistico paneuropeo (il PEPP, appunto).

La proposta intende creare un marchio di qualità per i prodotti pensionistici individuali europei e può, inoltre, contribuire alla creazione di un mercato unico delle pensioni individuali e promuovere la concorrenza fra fornitori a vantaggio dei consumatori.

Il testo di ben novanta pagine ( you can read it here) è un ottimo  esempio di concretezza e offre una cornice in cui intervenire con strumenti adeguati alle sfide della contemporaneità.

Le paure non vanno agitate per strumentalizzare i cittadini. Se ci sono problemi (che ci sono e che sempre ci saranno) che si sappia che esistono soluzioni. Soluzioni magari non sufficienti e ancora da mettere a fuoco. E esistono istituzioni che vanno migliorate e rinnovate per renderle più vicine di quanto possano apparire. A noi e alle nuove generazioni serve più Europa.

Massimo Ricciuti

ALDE Party Congress 2017: have we reached our Climax?

From December 1st to 3rd, Amsterdam hosted the ALDE Party Congress 2017. In this piece, Thalia Ntoka speaks about the salient aspects of the event, the perspectives for Alde and the contribution  expected from Individual Members

With more than 3000 ALDE Individual Members around the world we should celebrate this and hope things won’t change. We already achieved so many successes regarding our status. We have an elected Steering Committee, country Coordinators and a whole department inside the ALDE Party to help us. We elect Delegates, submit Resolutions, have voting rights and attend the annual Congress with numerous events, what else could we ask for?

The truth is that this Congress, was a huge success for us! We worked hard for two years, elected 3 Delegates to represent us, submitted 2 Resolutions and one of them was adopted. We held 4 big events, offered our members the possibility to contribute, share and exchange ideas and finally, we managed to increase our visibility, we even had a live interview similar to that prime ministers and commissioners had.

If we look back to where we started, we already made big steps and achieved so many things. We definitely couldn’t have done it without help from people from the ALDE Party and if we didn’t have the will to become stronger and give the European citizens the opportunity to participate and raise their voice.

Now the time has come to make the next big step and this is the hard part. We need to decide about the kind of the piece of the puzzle we want to be. We come from different countries and even if we share common European values, we also have our national identity. It won’t be easy to persuade people to start thinking different than what they are used to. We should find our common ground where we are all strongly connected and start pushing for European solutions.

We have already produce resolutions but we need to eliminate all kind of concerns when it comes to the slogan of ‘more Europe’. Our campaigns should be targeted and specific to important issues regarding our common future. Our events must contain solutions and politics. We need to become the policy makers who will offer a liberal agenda to the European citizens.

We cannot change things in a heart beat. Our president Hans Van Baalen once said that the Individual Members are the driving force of the ALDE party. We should prove our value on daily basis. The New Steering Committee has concrete roles, since we decided that if we want to succeed and make a step further, we have to separate our duties and use our abilities wisely. We also decided to introduce two co-Chairs because the ALDE Party Individual membership is increasing rapidly, something which means there is much more work to be done.

Unfortunately 5 people cannot work miracles, we need your valuable help and knowledge. Introduce yourselves to those who are interested in participating. Share your creative ideas with us and other members. Being a policy maker is not an easy task, it requires good will and time. There is no need to feel disappointment if the results are not always the desired ones because challenges will never stop.

The next two years we will choose our battles wisely. We will target specific political sectors (eg. education, economy, environment, human rights), so that our campaigns have a result. The same with our events in our countries. You are all invited to highlight problems in your region and we will be there to help you. 

If I could use this as a call for participation then allow me to add this quote from Barack Obama: “A change is brought about because ordinary people, do extraordinary things.”

We can do extraordinary things but that requires a strategy, highly motivated people and big dreams. With more than 3000 members around the world, let’s do it!

Thalia Ntoka

L’Europa e le sfide dei flussi migratori: Alde Individual Members ne hanno discusso a Roma

In this new contribution, in Italian, Marco Ajello talks about an event organized by Alde Individual Members  and Radicali Italiani about Europe and migration flows. Among the speakers were Emma Bonino, former European Union Commissioner and former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Benedetto Della Vedova, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and founder of the pro-EU movement Forza Europa; Andrea Mazziotti, current chairman of the Commission for Constitutional Affairs, and, finally, Radicali Italiani president  Antonella Soldo. Due to the exceptional nature of this event, we have decided to publish a longer contribution than we usually permit

Alde Individual Members  insieme col parlamento europeo e di concerto coi Radicali Italiani ha organizzato una conferenza sul tema politico sicuramente più sensibile al momento, ovvero quello della gestione dei flussi migratori. Moderato da Antonio Stango, coordinatore italiano degli Alde Individual Members, l’incontro ha visto la presenza di Emma Bonino, già Ministro degli Esteri e commissario Europeo, dell’attuale presidente della commissione Affari Costituzionali della Camera dei Deputati, Andrea Mazziotti, di Benedetto della Vedova, sottosegretario agli Esteri, della presidente radicale Antonella Soldo; di Gianna Radiconcini, presidente onorario del Partito d’Azione, di Marc Hartwig, leader del team Hotspot Italia e di due studiosi del settore come Giuseppe Morgese e Nadan Petrovich, oltre a Riccardo Scarpa della Lega Italiana diritti dell’uomo.

Il quadro generale italiano

L’immigrazione non è un fatto nuovo e se nel nostro paese è un fatto recente, di certo le migrazioni sono avvenute dal nostro paese e in alcuni momenti sono stati elemento caratterizzante, senza dover pensare all’epoca dei regni romanobarbarici, la stessa Roma si sviluppa col contributi di diverse popolazioni, compresi gli etruschi, che probabilmente nemmeno erano di lingua indoeuropea; e ovviamente senza dimenticare le colonie greche o fenicie lungo le coste meridionali. La stessa Epica che doveva celebrare il natale di Roma tratta della storia di un migrante anatolico che fugge col padre e il figlio dalla guerra e trovando l’amore e il progetto di vita nella penisola.

Oggi globalmente nel mondo ci sono 230 milioni, 3% della popolazione mondiale, un sociologo austriaco rovesciò la questione ponendosi invece il quesito “come mai il 97% delle persone non si sposta?” Gli stati nascono entità di sovrano che posseggono sudditi e terre e in tal senso le varie modernizzazioni non cambiano tale sostanza. L’ultimo millennio si caratterizza contro gli spostamenti di massa e anzi i dissidi fra diversi gruppi etnici sono stati spesso alla base degli sconvolgimenti e della creazione di nuovi assetti. In questa cornice si sviluppano i principi sul “diritto di emigrare” degli individui, che non si traduce in qualche obbligo a ricevere immigrazione. La convenzione di Ginevra del 1951, sottoscritta da una trentina di stati sovrani  aveva in mente soprattutto la problematica di singoli individui e si preoccupavano per i perseguitati dagli stati di origine (siamo nel pieno della guerra fredda): quindi non si trattava di emigrazioni di massa e si poggiava unicamente sulla persecuzione di enti statali. Il ministro Gava firmò le prime riforme in merito e da allora non sono sostanzialmente cambiate: la legislazione cittadinanza è del 1992, quella dell’asilo del 2002, ma riprende una legge del 1990). Oggi dunque viviamo col paradosso di fare un’accoglienza che pare fine a se stessa, e solo dopo anni cominciamo a chiedere all’immigrato cosa sa fare (e senza permesso di soggiorno gli è vietato chiedere un lavoro standard). Abbiamo un’immigrazione sostanzialmente irregolare, anche perché non abbiamo offerto un’immigrazione regolare credibile. Andare nel consolato del proprio paese per  informarsi per trovare un imprenditore o uno sponsor italiano nasconde una mentalità da pianificazione statale assolutamente fuori da ogni buon senso: il mercato produce le occasioni di lavoro, non gli stati, soprattutto in paesi c un forte terziario avanzato.

La situazione attuale.

Dopo le tragedie in mare nel 2015 la UE decide di regolamentare la problematica  (l’agenda europea dell’immigrazione: evitare i morti, ridurre immigrazione irregolare,  arrivare a una politica comune di asilo, una nuova politica di immigrazione legale e rafforzare i rapporti coi paesi di origine); l’obiettivo era  creare una eccezione temporanea agli accordi di Dublino. La commissione, per ingraziarsi i paesi membri, ha premuto per l’uso sistematico del fotosegnalamento, per garantire a ogni paese la conoscenza sugli arrivi. Il sistema italiano di accoglienza è però saturo: non si può garantire la gestione completa nei 5 hotspot destinati e si compensa con varie strutture emergenziali.

Gli accordi di Dublino prevedono che la richiesta degli immigrati debba avvenire nel paese di primo approdo. L’Italia firmò a cuor leggero, perchè in quel momento lo scenario vedeva come avamposto la Germania rispetto alle rotte via terra nella Mitteleuropa. Il problema vero non sono gli sbarchi, bensì la società multiculturale: problemi quindi non solo di casa e lavoro, ma anche di pari opportunità; e se non ci è chiaro lo scenario, il rischio è che ci scoppi tutto addosso.

L’intervento di Andrea Mazziotti

Di rilievo l’intervento di Andrea Mazziotti, promotore con Bonino, Della Vedova e Magi della nuova lista ‘+ Europa’: “In Parlamento- ha spiegato-non ha avuto vita facile la risoluzione del 2016 dell’europarlamento sulla raccomandazione all’istituzione di un meccanismo in materia di democrazia, stato di diritto e diritti fondamentali. Da parametri valori a norme, ma di fatto in parlamento si rovescia lo schema. Si parte  dal problema, da quello che ci piacerebbe e dopo si cerca di adattare con le norme: prima vediamo di cosa sono contenti i cittadini. Il problema in ambito Parlamentare è la mancanza dei giusti interlocutori nelle sedi istituzionali. Ed inoltre quella delle modifiche alle norme sull’asilo politico è questione marginale nonostante si parla solo di quello. Quanto alla revisione del trattato di Dublino, è stata bocciata dall’Italia, sia perché l’onere rimane in gran parte nel paese di primo approdo, che avrebbe dovuto comunque fare una revisione preliminare di ammissibilità, lasciando quindi un sovraccarico a tali paesi; sia per la gestione con gli altri paesi membri, che di fatto legittimava la non ricezione di individui in cambio di minori trasferimenti di denaro, esplicitando di fatto un valore monetario del migrante. Secondo correttezza, si dovrebbe sollevare la questione partendo all’articolo 7 del trattato e cacciare gli stati membri reticenti. La Commissione stessa persiste nell’usare strumenti giuridici deboli, per potersi riservare maggior  discrezionalità e di comune accordo coi governi soppianta l’Europarlamento e i suoi strumenti democratici e legali. Tutta la gestione dell’immigrazione di fatto è avvenuta al di fuori di trattati stipulati con altre nazioni sovrane, gli accordi dei singoli governi con la Turchia sono un esempio. E in Libia è ancora peggio, considerando che gli accordi non sono neppure con una realtà statuale radicata sul territorio, ma solamente vari clan e gruppi di potere al di fuori di qualunque controllo giuridico”.

Contro una nuova Lega delle nazioni

“Usiamo strumenti giuridici deboli quando ci va di mezzo la vita delle persone- prosegue Mazziotti – Viene da domandarsi a che serve l’inchiostro usato per le leggi che sanciscono dei valori. La riduzione di sbarchi di cui si vanta la commissione è meramente trattenuta nei paesi prospicienti il mediterraneo in strutture che non dobbiamo aver paura a chiamare Lager, intesi come luoghi al di fuori di controlli terzi e quindi latori di qualunque violenza. Al di là dell’Italia, al di là dell’Unione Europea, dobbiamo porci una questione di stato di diritto, anzi proprio di “pianeta di diritto”, argomento per il quale l’ONU dovrebbe essere la principale tematica, che purtroppo ultimamente ha cominciato a ritrarre l’espansione dei diritti umani a favore di una novella edizione della lega delle nazioni. Questo è il sovranismo: persone che vogliono chiudere il ciclo produttivo e riproduttivo. Se è vero che con liberalismo economico lì dove arrivano le merci non arrivano cannoni, è altrettanto vero che dove non si fanno arrivare le persone si dovrà perlomeno dare delle prospettive di sviluppo. E lo sviluppo non funziona dall’alto, se non per la creazione di norme e di progetti di massima. La crescita reale avviene con le singole decisione di ogni singola “formichina umana” che abita questo pianeta: solo i risparmi degli immigrati può portare benessere autentico nelle popolazioni in ristrettezze economiche. Dagli accordi di Helsinki (1975) fino all’attentato alle Torri Gemelle (2001) il mondo ci ha fatto credere in una progressiva e inarrestabile aumento dei diritti individuali. La diminuzione del lavoro e soprattutto del suo valore economico al di fuori delle figure ultrapicali,  ha smantellato il potere della media borghesia che è il contropotere diffuso contro i soprusi delle entità statuali e non. La  morbidezza con la Cina dopo i fatti di Tienanmen han garantito essa di diventare potenza mondiale, e ora persino prepotenza mondiale. Siamo sempre più mondo fatto di governatori in stile George Wallace, nel suo discorso di insediamento nel 1963 invocò “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” (segregazione ora, domani e sempre). Per questo non bisogna far passare sotto gamba queste problematiche: c’è in gioco oltre all’assetto delle nostre città, anche proprio la nostra rappresentanza e diritti e valori che consideriamo base e fine della civiltà”.

Marco Ajello

“+Europa”: the new italian Liberal-Democratic challenge against populism

In this contribution, ALDE Individual Member and relevant blog coordinator Emanuele Lombardini speaks about the birth of ‘+ Europa’, a new list promoted by former EU Commissioner Emma Bonino, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova, and the movement of Radicali Italiani. The list intends to constitute a common point of reference for Italian radical liberals, liberal-democrats and reformists alike. +Europa’s ambition is running for the political elections of 2018.

+Europa is an Italian liberal-democratic list which intends to offer an alternative to growing populism and represent the Italians voters who embrace the ambitious project of constructing the United States of Europe. Through +Europa, radical liberals and liberal-democrats are determined to regain the seats in the Italian Parliament that they have been missing for a long time. The promoters of +Europa are the historical leader of Radicali Italiani Emma Bonino, former EU Commissioner and former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and founder of the pro- European Union movement ‘Forza Europa’; Andrea Mazziotti, current chairman of the Commission for Constitutional Affairs, formerly member of ‘Scelta Civica’ and now of ‘Civici e Innovatori; and, finally, the movement of Radicali Italiani led by secretary Riccardo Magi. On November 23rd, the presentation of +Europa, a list whose vision is eloquently conveyed by the ‘+E’ symbol with which it will compare on the voting papers, was held in Rome.

Riccardo Magi introduced the vision behind the list by explaining that “today’s distinctions are no longer between right and left, or between conservatives and reformists; but among those who believe that social and economic problems can be solved by closing within national borders and by resorting to neo-nationalism, and those who think that we must build an open society and re-launching the process of European integration.”. He went on to explain how the challenge implied in this vision is “fighting the clichés about Europe shared by most of Italian party leaders, according to which Europe is a ‘bad stepmother’.” Until those leaders will continue exploiting and disseminating these stereotypes, Magi concluded, “+Europa can only be and will remain an independent list. ” “The European Union is the only place where we want to stay”, added Emma Bonino, “since more Europe means more peace, more security, more rights, more growth, more culture, and more freedom.” She then reminded that the European Commission has always had solid arguments to criticize the management of Italian public finances, and that the ‘bonus policy’ promoted by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, as well as the agreement the current government made with Libya on migrants, were all serious mistakes. +Europa shall not be approached as the list of Radicali Italiani only though.  As Carmelo Palma, one of the early proponents of the list, explains, “The list represents all liberal-democratic, secular, pro-European Union and anti-populist Italian voters”. Those same voters were so far represented by a constellation of movements – like ‘Scelta Civica’ and ‘Fare per fermare il declino’ – who can now find, in +Europa, a common political platform.

One main obstacle to the parliamentary representation of +Europa exists though. The Italian electoral law requires, to any political movement not already represented in the Parliament, to collect a minimum number of validated signatures in each and all constituencies. For +Europa, this requirement comes down to collecting 50,000 signatures . That is why a campaign aimed at recruiting voters willing to undersign the list, as well as validating the signatures of others, was promptly launched by Radicali Italiani and by the several liberal associations that gravitate around +Europa. “It’s an uphill ride”, explains Carmelo Palma, “especially considering that due to the approval of the new electoral law in October 2017, all constituencies themselves shall be first formally constituted; only then, which means around mid-December, we could start with the collection of signatures. This means that we will have 45 days in total to collect 50,000 signatures throughout the whole country.” The stringency of this requirement has led Emma Bonino, Benedetto Della Vedova and Riccardo Magi to submit a formal request to Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni to lower the quota of signatures necessary for presenting +Europa among all other candidate-lists. Whilst Gentiloni’s position in regard is yet unknown, liberal activists continue to campaign for empowering +Europa to run at the next political elections.

Emanuele Lombardini

“Why not?”, Margrethe Vestager meets Alde Individual Members in Lisbon

In this contribution from Portugal, country coordinator Luiz Menezes describes an important debate on the role of women in politics. The contributions focuses on the opinions of EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who explains why, in the current European scenario, it is most important that ordinary people engage in politics and as individual members of Alde

On the 6th of November I had the privilege to host the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager at the Portuguese ALDE IMs’ debate on “Women in Power – the new role of women in politics”.

It was a really inspirational exchange, with simple but deeply felt learnings, and meaningful sharing. Vestager particularly shared the ‘decisional model’ that she uses whenever she is confronted with life challenges: since this constituted a particularly insightful moment of our exchange, I summarise it below.

“SO WHY NOT?” Vestager asked. Often in life we are paralyzed by fear, worries and anxiety. We fear that we are not good enough; that we don’t have anything to offer; or even that no one will listen to us. Sometimes our anxiety anticipates obstacles well down the road: what if I have to speak in public? What if they’ll think I am a bluff?

If one thinks of it, indeed politicians must be either really courageous or really stupid to overcome these feelings. Looking around Europe and across the pond we all know what kind of politicians are abundant.

Remember Plato’s words “One of the consequences of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up  being governed by your inferiors.”

SO…WHY NOT? You are brighter than most of our current politicians, you have something to say, you want to change the world or at least your town

Politics is made by and for people: everyday people. Not only the kind of grey, anonymous bureaucrats.

Politics is made by and for people who care about other people: for people who have reasons to be angry, sad, and also happy and excited. Politicians are people who reach out, who try to build bridges of dialogue, and who try to let emerge and enhance the positive side of each of us. These are the kind of people who will bring emotions, trust and values back to politics; those that armies of bots and fake news cannot bring down.

SO… WHY NOT BECOMING ONE OF THEM? If you think the world is more than 0’s and 1’s, more than black and white, more than us versus them, then you should pose yourself this question.

You don’t have to think about the finish line, nor worrying about the obstacles: they will become part of your path, and you’ll deal with them along the way. Just focus on the now. Dream big, make plans, and act now. Think of the first step: You can do it. Become an activist, join an association or group, put your name out there.

And if we could count on you as ALDE IM, or as member of ALDE through any of the national parties, even better. Just act. I know it’s scary: but everything is. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail: but at least you could say you tried, and next time you’ll do better.

Luis Filipe Menezes