Who should I call if I want to talk to Italy?

Italy is now perceived as a country on the brink of secession, balkanized, in which each individual party will seek its own relationship with Brussels

Versione Italiana

Who should I call if I want to talk to Italy? The famous phrase attributed to Henry Kissinger, referring to a Europe without a decision-making center with which to interact, fits perfectly with Giorgia Meloni’s Italy, an Italy “in tatters,” or a “half Italy”, as Elly Schlein described it perfectly in the parliamentary discussion about the reform of differentiated autonomy.

It will take years for the reform to be completed and come into force, but in the meantime the political effects of its approval are already enormous. The tensions between the different parts of the country forcefully emerge, and it is useless for the government to think of settling them by simultaneously imposing the premiership, a reform aimed at – according to Meloni – balancing the greater regional power as a counterweight and at containing the fragmentation which arises from differentiated autonomy.

These two reforms do not have parallel parliamentary paths or timelines, and they can only be considered complementary in the abstract.

In the meantime, there is a political fact that is very striking to European observers. How does the government think it can have greater bargaining power on European tables, given that Italy is now perceived as a balkanized country on the brink of secession, in which each individual party will seek its own relationship with Brussels, something which has already partly happened for some time (in fact, the Regions have their own offices within the community institutions)?

The level of Italian unreliability in Europe, after the celebration in the chamber with the regional flags flaunted by the Northern League members, is in clear contrast with the sovereigntist Meloni’s childish presumption and illusion of being able to participate in EU negotiations from a position of strength, even to call the shots, by virtue of her supposed electoral victory (achieved with the loss of almost six hundred thousand votes), while representing a nation “in tatters”.

The perception of a peninsula with a multicolored map like those found in history books which illustrate pre-unification Italy once again gives rise to fears of the possible attraction of the more prosperous parts of northern Italy into the orbit of Austria/Germany and France.

Henry Kissinger actually denied the authorship of the statement that has been attributed to him and repeated a thousand times, and he did so during a public meeting in 2012 in Warsaw with the Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, thinking that it had been an Irish Foreign Office minister the first to use the expression. “I’m not sure I said that,” the then 89-year-old former Secretary of State of the Nixon and Ford administrations declared, then adding, “but that’s a good quote, so why not take credit for it?”

Does that phrase still make sense today? Yes, but much less than in the past, despite the very troubled period that Europe and its institutions are going through. Those institutions were able to withstand the exit of the United Kingdom well. But now it is the fate of another member country, among the founders of the Union, that is worrying, testing the stability of the European edifice with a reform that seriously puts its relationship with the EU at risk.


The EU Commission underlined in a working document (drafted earlier but made known on the day of the law passing at Montecitorio) how “the devolution of further competences to the Italian regions entails risks for the cohesion and public finances of the country”. The warning focuses on the LEP: “Since they only guarantee minimum levels of services and do not concern all sectors, there are still risks of increasing regional inequalities” which already exist between North and South, but also between urban and peripheral areas.

Translation by Paul Rosenberg

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Who should I call if I want to talk to Italy? ultima modifica: 2024-06-20T17:30:23+02:00 da YTALI
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