There are only a few days left to the European Elections, but many Italians are still on the fence about their voting choice
On May 26, Italian and European citizens will be summoned to cast their votes for the new European Parliament. Italy will elect 73 representatives among 15 electoral rolls running in the electoral competition. According to the legislation, an electoral threshold of 4 percent will set the entry limit and parties cannot form a coalition.
Therefore, it is vital to take part to the vote, as the European Parliament contributes to determine the overall political direction of the European Union. In addition, during its first session, the assembly appoints the President of the European Commission, who plays the role of “Europe’s Prime Minister”. Last but not least, every representative should join a political group in which the Parliament is divided: European People’s Party, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, European Conservatives and Reformists, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, European United Left-Nordic Green Left, Greens-European Free Alliance, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, Europe of Nations and Freedom.
The economy is the probably the main common ground of all the contenders. Both the Democratic Party and Forza Italia agree on proposals aiming to achieve both a higher rate of growth and more investments, in order to boost employment. This general approach, however, looks at least in appearance widely shared, as not only +Europe, but also the same Democratic Party proposes a European unemployment benefit for all the workers in the Union. On the other hand, Forza Italia and the Five Star Movement link the issue to the European Central Bank that, according to them, needs to consider in its monetary policies not only the inflation rate, but also unemployment.
Talking about austerity, Forza Italia and the Five Star Movement find common ground also with the right-wing Brothers of Italy, as they share the idea that low-expenses measures are harmful for the economy. Moreover, all parties agree that defending the Made in Italy and the national manufacturing sector against global competition, especially from China, is key. Lastly, although in some cases only on paper, political forces bring together a strong focus on linking economic growth to an ecologist rhetoric.
With regard to fiscal matters, every contender agrees on a fairer taxation against web giants such as Facebook or Google, which in the past years have successfully found a way to avoid tolls. Some points deserve to be further clarified: indeed, while the Democratic Party stands up for the fight the fiscal dumping, the centre-right group’s historic war-horse is less taxes and a 15 percent rate on all incomes.
Migration and Security
It is quite easy to find different approaches on security and migration, as every party has a different position. While the Brothers of Italy and the Northern League take a firm stand against any kind of open borders, supporting their strong control by military forces, the party led by Giorgia Meloni get to openly claims that European institutions should defend Western culture and the European identity from islamization.
On the other hand, moderates show more concrete proposals, as they tend to agree on reforming the Dublin Regulation and on introducing a new supportive asylum system. Finally, they urge the European Union to implement a so-called “Marshall Plan for Africa” to solve migration issues in the long run.
The 5 Star Movement, argues that international cooperation and agreements for repatriation should be improved. On the contrary, +Europe assumes that a new European welfare system should take care of migrants — and not only them.
The Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party are those that most take to heart social policies, at least considering what they say in their programs. Indeed, while they agree on an European minimum wage, the former also focuses on defending savings from speculation, while the latter wants to prioritize the elimination of the gender pay gap. In addition, both forces concur on increasing funds for the Erasmus programme and on granting equal education across the continent.
+Europe has a quite similar stance, as its leader Emma Bonino claims that the European Union must retain its role as bulwark of human and civil rights. In that sense, the increased role of the European Court of Human Rights and the establishment of a “real” european citizenship are key in its program.
Brothers of Italy and the Northern League focus on more traditional social questions like housing rights and helping elderly people, children and invalids. In addition, Meloni brings forward that a monthly allowance should be given for every dependent child and that all these bonuses should be provided by Europe.
Many parties believe that the powers of the European institutions should be further increased to face the new global political and economic challenges. Forza Italia, the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement believe that the Parliament should have a pivotal role and issue clearly and effectively the true indications stemming from the people’s vote. On the other hand, far right parties like the Northern League and Brothers of Italy believe that a Europe of nations should take precedence over its political integration.
What emerges from the programs is that it can be possibile to draw a clear line between the pro-European front and parties that are against a political union. Although for the latest polls Europhiles seem to be the majority, it should not be understimated the support and the fuss that anti-establishment and right-wing parties still have all over Europe, and especially in Italy. However, nobody seems to want an Italexit, at least for now.