“There’s great surprise at the extent of the results and because it is the first time a big country and a founder of the European Union sees an ‘anti-system’ and euro-sceptical majority come out of its election”. This is the first comment made by Enzo Pezzini – interviewed by SIR – about the result of the Italian election. A researcher and professor (Brussels, Louvain, Paris), Pezzini looks at the election and after-election through a “European lens”. “So far, in the elections of the other big countries, in France or in Germany, though there were anti-European or far right forces there too, even substantial ones, they had never won”. He points out: “There are many factors that have led a majority of voters to this state of resentment toward Europe, though Italy had always been one of the most euro-enthusiastic countries”. And he lists the Maastricht constraints, “that have imposed a strict austerity policy on a country that lived off the development of public debt”, the economic crisis, migration flows where “Italy has been left on its own”.
The EU institutions hope in an Italy with a “governing government” that will embrace Europe. What are the real concerns? “There will be the European election in just over one year; the European budget for the next seven years is starting to be discussed, and an agreement has been reached about revising the Dublin Regulation on asylum claims. Steps that are very important, then, and the European institutions are concerned they will have to rely on a strong, sensitive Italian government. They are concerned about the potential need to talk with those people who, until a short while ago, were wearing ‘no euro’ T-shirts at the European Parliament or proposed to hold referendums about leaving the euro. They are wary, of course, and they hope that common sense will prevail”.