“A moment of great international instability, of a great definition of new geopolitical structures at world level. The failure of the recent Canadian G7 summit and the subsequent Trump meeting with Kim Jong-un draws new guidelines that significantly dominate a new peaceful axis that excludes Japan and includes China and Russia, as well as the United States. And probably the sunset of the Atlantic axis that has governed the equilibrium of the world since the end of the Second World War.
As a result, continental Europe is in a phase of major change, with the threat of higher tariffs on the export of aluminum and steel. Furthermore, sanctions towards Russia are still in place. It should be stressed that Britain on the one side and Canada on the other are in a worse place than Eastern Europe. This is since Britain (through Brexit) has precluded itself the possibility of a free trade area with the other European countries that would have been more useful as the historic American ally seems to have closed a history that had lasted over the years.
While the definition of new international balances is underway, the new Italian Government with the known affair of the Acquarius ship seeks to carve out an international position, becoming a de facto ally of the “Visegrad” group countries that are actually the same countries that have broken the European Community policy spirit on the equal distribution of immigrants.
Italy, as guided by Salvini, tries to ally itself with those who have created the problem, refusing in the last few weeks to renegotiate the Dublin Treaty and sending upstream a community policy that could alleviate Italy from the weight of immigration. There is not only the issue of migrants that of course calls for a central role in the emotional impact of our country, there are also important economic and social deadlines that await our country in the definition of its role as Europe evolves.
On one hand there has been a constant acceleration towards the end of quantitative easing. This can only lead to further pressures on the national public debt, on spread and on the interests that the country must issue to make our government bonds attractive to investors. We have to remember that our country, in order to support the economy and the burden of public debt, must put more than 500 billion euros in bonds each year. Since the European Central Bank and foreign investors principally own our public debt, in order to sustain this level of issuance, Italy paid in 2017 75 billion of interest expense on bonds. Each point of interest growth is worth 5 billion euros of additional indebtedness. This creates a vicious circle that threatens to bring the country quickly into a default if we do not supplement the country with structural reform policies that affect the public debt by creating development. Still, on the economic side, we should note that Italy in May had, for the first time in over twenty years, a negative spread on Greek bonds and that Spain in 2018 overtook Italy in the creation of wealth. In the next ten years, Spain will surpass our country by a further 7 percentage points, creating a considerable gap in favor of Spanish citizens compared to the Italian ones.
From a political stand, there is an increasing alliance between Macron and Merkel that the recent failure of the G7 only welded further. This outlines a strong core of Europe to which Spain and Portugal belong along with a nucleus of the countries of Northern Europe. The politics of populism of the Italian government, therefore, puts the country in an undesirable condition. There may be two scenarios: that of an alliance with the countries of the authoritarian regimes of the Visegrad group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary) and parts of the Balkan countries, or that of joining our poor Mediterranean relatives Greece, Malta and Cyprus.
The role of the European reformist and democratic union, in this framework, becomes even more important. This is because in Europe, unions have always collaborated in the making of a policy that aims at development and favors employment. A policy that creates a social cohesion that aims at increasing people’s rights and has a strong awareness that a regulated immigration policy, respects religious values but also anchors west Christian values is essential today. It is essential if we want to fill the demographic void existing today in every country of the European Union and above all in Italy.
In this context, workers unions and organisations and especially the independent ones such as CESI can play a fundamental role by calling on the European Commission and the Parliament, which is due to renew in July 2019, to follow a strict policy against exploitation and illegal employment. Resources are needed to provide employment to the tens of millions of young people who risk being without decent jobs for decades. Moreover, the trade unions in Europe can and must become a point of reference in the fight against precariousness and the severe social injustice that affect significant parts of the population. A social injustice that creates the roots of a general discontent which fuels populism and sovereignties. The independent autonomous European workers union has in its DNA this political line since it derives from the best of liberal, Christian and Social Democratic culture. The workers union can and must play an important role so that Europe does not have only the winning sign of a wild capitalism without rules, but also the social spirit of equal opportunities, equality and solidarity.
This road is marked by initiatives such as those taken in Italy by Confsal on the recent May 1 demonstration in Naples. This type of manifestations represent a strong set against the drift of sovereigns that produce selfishness and make only the strongest ones win without a network of social and economic protection for the weaker social strata. With this basic approach and with these strong convictions, I hope to be elected Vice-President of CESI. I would commit myself to work together with my brothers of the unions throughout Europe, so that our action will be ever more incisive and representative and will become a constant spur for the European institutions.”
This is an unofficial translation of the Italian original manuscript.
Picture: Roberto Di Maulo © Confsal 2018