Short apology of Euroscepticism (or almost): response to his friend David Rossi

(To Federico Castiglioni)
23/12/18

Before tackling the question of the dichotomy of Europeanism / Euro-skepticism, in Italy and in Europe, a premise is a must. When we refer to the two categories, we must understand what they mean politically, so as not to be trapped by the contradictions inherent in language, on which politics has always leverage. When we speak of Europeanism, with a certain simplification, we describe today all the attitudes in some way attributable to the support of a party to the European institutions. The Democratic Party in Italy, for example, is pro-European because it supports the European Union, while Salvini is Eurosceptic because it would do without it. Similarly Viktòr Orbàn is Eurosceptic, because it is on a collision course with Brussels, while Macròn is super-European, so much to have inaugurated his stay at the Élysée with the hymn of joy. This vision of the demarcation between the two sides is, of course, superficial and imprecise. For example, the PD for years proposed a reform of the European institutions, focusing on the role of Parliament, while Orbàn has always opposed, saying that the current institutional set-up is the best possible for Europe (yes, the best possible) . Salvini himself, who is Eurosceptic, is trying to mitigate the immigration problem with a European response, while Macròn, as a pro-European, seems more inclined to hold national responsibilities. In short, most of the alliance between "Europeanist" and "Eurosceptic" groups is of convenience and does not reflect a real line of political demarcation that allows us to predict their work. This peasantry is exemplified by Brexit. While for our own sovereigns, like Le Pen and Salvini, this is an absolutely positive phenomenon of reappropriation of national identity, for Farange and many British supporters of the "hard brexit" the exit of the United Kingdom is exactly the opposite; a greater push to internationalism and an incentive for even more "neoliberal" policies, in opposition to the "statist" and too social ones of Brussels.

If at this point you think that, all in all, the two categories are inexistent but you are wrong; the only difference is to recognize that the demarcation line between supporters and detractors of the European project is not only made of political rationality, but of the spirit of time (Zeitgeist). In the last few years, something exceptional has happened on the international scene, that is a real awakening of the "peoples", who have gone from an inert subject of politics to a focal point of attention. This real revolution, which can not be taken into account, is clearly against a system of values ​​and policies that have been implemented in recent decades. These policies, which the European Union has actively encouraged, are those of labor flexibility, the internationalization of companies, the opening of borders to other peoples and the containment of state budgets. Does this mean that all Euro-skeptic parties are aligned in this global mantra against globalization and actively pursue policies clearly against the measures listed above? Absolutely not. Rather! Just some of the most Eurosceptic governments on the continent are among the most ardent supporters of these policies (go and talk to the Austrian government about more public spending or Poland about syndicalism!). What unites them, however, is the ability to intercept the sense of insecurity and dissatisfaction that these measures have caused, declining responses in one way or another depending on their internal situation. Sovereignism is this: giving local answers to international problems. This is absolutely not a contradiction, but simply a very precise choice of field. The conflict between the sovereignists is inherent in their own political category, and it is enough to read the Paris Manifesto to understand it.1 If we think about it, this is an obvious conclusion and should not be surprising: if the revolution in progress is against the transnational alliance of elites, which take decisions on the heads of their peoples, the opposite of this model is only the classic contrast between national elites, who compete to act as "lawyers" for their country to the detriment of others (the similarity is not due to the genius of the author). If there is any government in Europe that allows the precariousness of work it will not be the others to pay the consequences, and putting the tariffs and closing the borders seems a very small price to pay, especially for the millions of Europeans that the border does not 'have never crossed, and for which it is a bulwark and a defense, even psychological.

The Italian government is currently finding itself engaged in this tug of war with the European institutions, mainly on the budget law that should be launched shortly. His eventual defeat would surely be a little comforting message for democracy, because it would show plastically that even large nations, like Italy, are no longer totally in control of their destiny and that their national elites have in fact lost almost all decision-making power. The speech for the United Kingdom is more complex, given its history, but also a disastrous and recessive exit of London from the Union would be proof that out of the current institutional architecture (made of international solutions to international problems) is essential , on pain of a significant loss of wealth and prestige that hardly anyone, after the recent crisis, can endure. Could it be that some people accept to take risks and some governments take responsibility for them? The British are doing it, hardly, but with the coverage of an international financial and political network that protects them, extended from the United States to Australia. If they fail or will pay too high a price, no one else will follow them. But if they were to fail, the exasperation of having lost all their voice over decisions, even wrong ones (especially the wrong ones!), Will be unnerving for the European peoples in the long run. The only hope for a way out for democracy, if we want paradoxically, would be to start developing a transnational political conscience and then to reacquire, at European level, that sovereignty that was taken bureaucratically by the Commission, the Heads of State and judicial bodies of Brussels and Strasbourg. But even this last solution seems unlikely. How can we push hundreds of millions of citizens who still live in national bubbles (linguistic, cultural, information) to do politics at European level? How to convince citizens who now associate the idea of ​​Europe with that of rules and absurdities to look for the solution of their problems right there? But, even more serious, the creation of this continental political conscience would not be a victory, after all, of the ultra-Europeanists, those who would like to create a European Federation? This is the real dilemma that is affecting the European political classes right now and of which it is difficult to foresee a solution.

1Manifesto of intellectuals sovranisti, this is the article of IntellegoBlog, the only one who has dedicated a deepening in Italian

(photo: Présidence de la République)