‘EU’s fault!’ Bloc blamed for ‘destroying’ democracy in Italy after invention of the euro
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In a piece slamming the bloc, Italian commentators Thomas Fazi and Paolo Cornetti claimed that the erosion of their country’s sovereignty began in the early-Nineties. It has led to Italy’s President and head of state – which is supposed to be a neutral post – using their position to influence democratically-elected governments.
Italy also opted to ditch the lira in favour of the euro – an act with meant “the role of government — and therefore of parliament — increasingly becomes that of rubberstamping often unpopular economic decisions taken at the European level”, they wrote.
In a piece for UnHerd, they wrote: “This has inevitably entailed a process of state reconfiguration involving the strengthening of executive and technocratic powers at all levels, including that of the president, and the consequent marginalisation of parliament.
“Typically, this is presented as a necessary precondition for the swift and efficient implementation of the kind of economic policies enforced by the EU.
“(This included) fiscal austerity, wage moderation, and pro-market liberalisations and privatisations.
“Once the choice was made by Italy’s elites to join the euro, it also became necessary to defend their decision from any possible popular-democratic challenges.
“And so the president’s role was transformed in another way.
“(They went) from guarantor of the constitution to guarantor of the country’s ‘international obligations’, in particular those to EU treaties and rules.
“Finally, the transfer of economic prerogatives to the EU meant that political parties, even if they managed to secure a majority in parliament, increasingly found themselves lacking the economic tools necessary to maintain societal consensus.”
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The country’s current president – Sergio Mattarella – ends his seven-year term on January 24.
To choose his replacement, the Italian parliament and its regional representatives will hold a secret ballot.
Both men claimed that whoever is chosen will have “wide-ranging implications — not just for Italy but for the entire continent”.
They added: “It is generally believed that the Italian president performs a purely ceremonial and symbolic role, and throughout most of Italy’s life as a republic this has been largely the case.”
“Given the quasi-permanent state of political and economic turbulence that Italy has been mired in for at least a decade, it’s no surprise that the president today has evolved into a full-blooded political actor, with the power (and willingness) to intervene in the country’s decision-making process.”
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