Italy’s Battle For Europe

Everything could drastically change in Europe after May 26

April 17 was the last day for all political parties to register lists and names of the candidates in the European elections. The Ministry of the Interior has received a total of 47 symbols, but even so there are parties which could not collect the 30,000 signatures needed to take part to the 26th continental vote. If the United Kingdom doesn’t leave the European Union before the elections in May as it seems, Italy will thus have 73 seats at the European Parliament, assigned to 5 electoral constituencies: north-west (20), north-east (15), center (15), south (18) and the islands (8), without prejudice to a 4 percent threshold at national level. Among those excluded, the pan-European party Volt, didn’t manage to collect enough signatures and won’t be running in Italy, as is the case in other countries.

Barely one month before the elections, the alliances on the left seem to be already defined. The Democratic Party has found an agreement with Carlo Calenda, former Minister of the Economic Developement for the Renzi government, who has recently launched We are Europeans, a position manifesto that will support the Democrats and the Party of European Socialists. The pro-European and liberal party +Europa, former ally of the DP at the last political elections, will enter the race together with Italy in Common, the movement founded by Federico Pizzarotti, current mayor of Parma and former Five Star Movement member, to be part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Finally, the Communist Refoundation Party and Italian Left will run together for the GUE/NGL and European Left groups.

On the right wing, except for the granitic presence of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia in the group of the European People’s Party, the situation is more uncertain. The Nothern League leader Matteo Salvini has met in Milan with Jorg Meuthen of Alternative für Deutschland and with the presidents of the Finnish and Danish sovranist parties. Nonetheless, these latter political forces are not part the ENF group, the far-right coalition in which the Nothern League is present together with Marine Le Pen’s Front National. The national-conservative party Brothers of Italy has nominated his new-to-politics candidate Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, great grandson of Benito, and will run for the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists. Therefore, the idea of a big, single front that would gather all nationalist and sovranist parties seems to have failed due to the impossibility to find a general programme with shared political measures. Finally, we should not forget that also that the League’s government ally, the Five Star Movement, will take its chances alone for the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group.

Anyway, the future isn’t fixed. According to the polls, the traditional pro-European groups should manage to gain the majority of the seats. Moreover, the likely elections in the UK could work as a sort of second referendum on Brexit, now that millions of people have directly witnessed all the troubles caused by the application of article 50. However, many elections over the past few years showed us that anything is possible. So it’s very important that citizens become more conscious about this great political event — which has often been understimated — because everything could drastically change in Europe after May 26.