All of it started on March 4th, 2018. With the general election pyrrhic victory of an uncommon, unpredictable, contractual Italian new bipartisan axis formed by the Five Stars Movement and the (Northern) League.
Nobody could then blame a disheartened Italian voter for what has happened in the following weeks. It has been the umpteenth stage of Italian political impasse, with the President of the Republic trying to eat the (political) soup with a knife to design a representative government and end that useless long stage of governmental inactivity.
When this was possible, Professor Giuseppe Conte was appointed to form a government by the new bizarre bipartisan alliance between the Five Stars Movement and the League.
Then we had the chance to see how this pseudo-populist, Euro-schizophrenic (not to say Euro-moody) government has acted (and reacted) to such a difficult question on rejecting or hosting migrants from North Africa.
On June 10th, the vessel SAR Aquarius of the NGO SOS Mediterranée was refused to make landfall by the Maltese government. Then, the Italian authorities, driven by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Matteo Salvini, and the Minister of Infrastructures, Danilo Toninelli, refused to accept the vessel at the Italian shores. Rome therefore referred to the European Union founding principle of Solidarity (please, see art. 3 TEU) and a clear opened violation of Solidarity Principle by the Maltese authorities that had staunchly shut their ports despite the vessel was 27 miles from Malta and 32 miles from Italy. Turns out this occasion was transformed in a unique political gain by the neo-nominated Spanish government of Pedro Sanchez, who proposed his nation as the recipient. The next step we testified was a harsh reaction by the French President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, who defined the Italian behaviour as “simply disgusting”.
The result of the whole affair is crystal-clear. Italian authorities have given an end to that “Open-door” policy pursued by their predecessors. Spain, whose migration flows from North Africa were amongst the lowest in Europe (I encourage you to read the latest Eurostat statistics and forecasts), took the chance to rebalance the equilibrium while obtaining a wave of popular support for this eager move. The French reaction instead was genuinely undiplomatic and induced a pessimistic scenario for the future bilateral talks with Italy, whose Foreign Affairs Minister Moavero Milanesi summoned the French Ambassador to report. That said, this time instead of a centralised position from Brussels we have encountered a Euro-fudge, whose members have not yet agreed on how to face what observers claim to be a very challenging humanitarian crisis featuring the Mediterranean Area in the months to come.
A cura di Manfredi Morello