Europe and the tragicomic ‘black sovranismo’

Salvini 19

Matteo Salvini, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, on the left, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, on the right. European Union, 2019 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.

This article was written for The European Sting by one of our readers, Mr. Tommaso Merlo. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not necessarily The European Sting’s position on the issue.


Salvini and European black sovranists are the wrong answer to real problems, to real fears. Even the worst lies are based on shreds of truth. If Europe really wants to avoid Salvini’s vehement return in Italy, the new Commission have to demonstrate that has learned its lesson and is able to change.

The first Ursula von der Leyen steps are promising, but the new Commission is still controlled by the same parties and the same political culture. Change is not so obvious. Salvini and black sovranists have spread mainly because of economic crisis has exacerbated poverty and inequality and because mass immigration went out of control in countries like Italy.

Fear. Fear of ending up broke. Fear of invasion and losing security and identity. A deadly pincer that has generated anger. Irrational anger. But in cities’ suburbs and in countryside villages, the moral of the right-thinking people is not heard and the sermons of honorable people either.

On the other hand, Salvini’s burps are heard loud and clear, and they are the ones that frightened and upset citizens want to hear. Burps that embody their frustrations. In Italy, but not just there. The sovranist wind blows across the Continent. Salvini plan is to raise walls to isolate Italy and protect people from a world that is changing too quickly. Salvini does not want to manage change. He wants to lock change outside the door, hoping it will pass.

Pure delusion. But politically profitable. This is why, in Rome as in Brussels, politics doesn’t need good speeches to stop black sovranism, needs facts. Politics needs to show that sovranism recipes are a tragicomic return to the past. Salvini in Italy has made his political fortune speculating on the failures of old political parties and European institutions. Recriminations largely true.

Italy has been left alone on immigration while with respect to the economic crisis Europe has always shown interested only in the stability of national accounts, not caring about the consequences of the crisis on people’s lives. The massacre of workers’ rights and the cut of welfare imposed by neoliberal chimeras have worsened the quality of life of millions of people and this without generating any economic growth.

A social butchery occurred at the same time as the daily disembarkation of ships loaded with illegal immigrants and their forced distribution to cities’ suburbs and villages in the countryside. A cultural shock. Seen from below. A gold mine for Salvini consensus. Yet, for years, in Rome as in Brussels, politics has followed the slope of some financial chart or the greed of some lobbies, losing sight of the real conditions of people life.

Their pain, their feelings. In Rome as in Brussels, politics was perceived as a cold and insensitive bureaucracy far away from reality. Like a parasitic wagon driven by hidden interests and wrong ideas. A bureaucracy seen as part of the problem and not the solution. To change course, the new Commission will have to demonstrate that it has learned its lesson and is able to change.

It must show it has a heart. And Europe as a whole must demonstrate that in an increasingly interconnected world, the continental dimension is the minimum one to manage global problems such as the economic crisis or mass immigration.

Europe must demonstrate through concrete facts that the nationalist path is a loser and that Salvini and his sovranist friends are just a tragicomic return to the past.

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