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March 30, 2023

Italia, which way…

A very close friend, sentimentally and professionally connected to Italy, recently told me that, for almost two decades, he wants to update a book published in September 1989 about “the everyday Italy,” but he has not succeeded yet, by any means. This happened because transition continues in Italy, same as in Romania.
An expert in European matters, also a former diplomat, recently affirmed that the Italian political crisis and the decline of the third-largest economy of the Eurozone will not end with the conclusion of the long and controversial political career of Silvio Berlusconi. The reasons of the political-economic decline of the peninsula are, as he said, much more profound, as they relate to the accumulation of unsolved political problems. It is not hard to notice that the common war waged by the Italian left, the moderate centre and the majority of intellectuals against il Cavaliere gradually turned into the image of the present system’s inability to find effective solutions to all these problems.
Nobody can ignore that this is about an obsolete politico-economic and poorly performing system, marked by a political gerontocracy without par on the continent, as this is also about debts that exceeded EUR 2,000 bln (121 pc of the GDP) and a youth unemployment that reaches 50 pc in several regions of the country. Although some of these issues can be directly or indirectly related to how the European Union works, many originate directly in the peninsula… If we recollect, the previous government in Rome, the oldest of the European Union, with an average age of 67.25 years, needed the insistent support of President Giorgio Napolitano (88) in order to resist. After the conclusion of his mandate, in May, the member of the Parliament attempted voting a new president (Romano Prodi), but they did not succeed and they desperately called Napolitano back for a new mandate, so that to avoid a new crisis of the system.
To say nothing about the revelation of parliamentary elections held in February, when the comic Beppe Grillo suddenly became the leader of the opposition, with 25 pc. Perhaps not by chance German politician Peer Steinbruck voiced, a few months ago, his exasperation towards the populist policy in Rome, saying that he is terrified that in Italy two clowns won the elections, certainly referring to the leaders of the parties ranking second and thirds in the options of voters, respectively Grillo and Berlusconi.
After the disappearance, in the early ‘90s, of the historic parties that dominated the Italian political life in the postwar period, the Italian political system no longer produced high-profile leaders with European vocation. Much less political structures appreciated at the level of the respective international organisations. This was the ground where the group “Mediaset” and Silvio Berlusconi affirmed themselves, during all these years. Nominated four times as premier during his career, first in 1991, later in 2001 and 2005, the last time in 2008, he was definitively sentenced by the Court of Cassation. At the end of this month, the plenum of the Senate will probably vote the expulsion of the PDL leader and founder from the Parliament. Under the acting legislation, Berlusconi will not be allowed to run in the next elections. In other words, his political story nears its end. This is however not the case, we believe, with ‘berlusconism,’ the word created around the big boss and which generated, for two decades, important political and economic positions in the Italian state.
Naturally, it is not easy making forecasts about the evolution of tomorrow’s Italy, after the departure of Berlusconi and the normal retirement of the present generation. It is however clear that overcoming the current crisis and the necessary solutions practically do not depend on the presence or elimination of a person from the political life, regardless of his qualities and defects. All in all, each generation must come with its own project.
Life has demonstrated that governmental stability has not represented a characteristic feature neither in the first Italian republic (1946-1992), nor in the second (1992-present). Practically speaking, the 26 premiers led 62 cabinets in 67 years of democracy. Anyway, nothing can stop us, and especially the Italians, from being optimistic about the future.

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