Italian voters put again the European Peoples in the Brussels picture

Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, fourth from left, visited the Pompeii site in Campania Region, Italy, where the European Union has co-financed a rehabilitation project. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, fourth from left, visited the Pompeii site in Campania Region, Italy, where the European Union has co-financed a rehabilitation project. (EC Audiovisual Services).

The results of the Italian election reminded everybody that Europe has never been a plain political field and, no matter how hard Brussels and Berlin planners are trying to impose solutions of the Mario Monti type, voters are determined to have it their own way. Italian voters by their last weekend’s choices put again the European Peoples in the Brussels frame, not by what they choose to vote but rather by what they refused to support. Beppe Grillo and Berlusconi got the vote of more that two out of every four Italians not for what they are but rather for what they are not. They are not Montis nor flexible Bersanis…

The come-back of Silvio Berlusconi was not engineered just by the Cavaliere alone. Italy has a vast industrial sector in the North and a really huge agro-food business segment, producing whatever Germany and France can offer together. It has a strong entrepreneurial class that has been supporting economically the country, through decades of political instability. The problem is, however, that Italian producers were accustomed to competitive monetary devaluations and the Italian lira was a traditionally weak money accommodating exactly this need. In the era of the euro, this support has been lost. The problem automaker Fiat faces now are a fine example of this.

In any case, with this electoral result, the Italian people told their European partners in Brussels and Berlin that ‘saviors’ in the form of professor Monti cannot do the job for Italy. Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo may be caricature politicians compared to Germans and the French standards but this is what the Italians choose. Pier Luigi Bersani, the mainstream centre left politician, barely won the first place in the House of Representatives and the Senate, contrary to an easy win for his alliance, predicted by public opinion pollsters and formulators.

In detail, Bersani’s center left coalition won 29.54% in the House, with Berlusconi second at 29.14%, Beppe Grillo at 25.54% and Mario Monti with only 10.54%. In the Senate, Bersani gets 31.6%, Berlusconi 30.67%, Grillio 23.80% and Monti with 9.13%.

All that mean that Italy cannot have a viable government. As if the Italian people wanted exactly that. This is not just a wild guess. It was pretty clear to average Italian citizen that a strong government under Bersani, would have, more or less, continued the austere policies introduced by Mario Monti. As a result, they supported massively the comedian Grillo who not only has asked for a referendum about Italy’s position in the Eurozone, but he obviously constitutes a dark spot in the country’s political system, being ready to undermine any attempt by main stream politicians to strap Italy on Brussels’ and Berlin’s vehicles. More or less the same is true for the Berlusconi vote.

Is democracy a drawback?

This brings us to the next issue that the Italian electoral result now poses. It’s nothing less than the issue of democracy. As a matter of fact, Brussels and Berlin showed ostentatiously their dislike over the Italian election results, as if elections constitute a drawback. A deplorable attitude in every respect. For one thing, it shows that Berlin has standard political expectations from its Eurozone partners. If they don’t arrive to that, the German establishment appears ready to take vindictive action. In short, Berlin can accept the democratic play as long as is gives the ‘right’ results.

It’s very characteristic that, after the French and the Dutch referendums which reversed the first attempt for a much closely built European Union under the so-called European Constitution, today, in Brussels and Berlin nobody pronounces the word ‘referendum’. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who introduced such an initiative, became instantaneously the black sheep of Brussels. The idea that the EU bureaucrats can steer the Union to the desired direction away from peoples’ aspirations has become a standard policy in Brussels and Berlin. Fortunately, the Italian people blew that on the air, despite the ‘advices’ for the contrary by many Brussels dignitaries like the European Parliament President.

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