Interview. ‘I think the most forward-looking task would be to engage in an innovative initiative, a novel but authentic one: a common list for the European elections that would not feature the symbols of any particular party.’

Boldrini: Salvini is making up policy as he goes along

Today, the Italian Chamber of Deputies began the debate on the Global Compact on Migration, the UN plan proposed in Marrakech on Dec. 10, which Italy has not yet officially adopted. We spoke about this with Laura Boldrini, the former President of the Chamber of Deputies, who is now a Deputy from the left-wing Liberi e Uguali (LeU) party.

“How this matter has been handled showcases the full extent of the government’s incapability,” she told us. “For no other reason than to give a gift to Matteo Salvini’s friends, to Orbán who has been a follower of Trump and the sovereignist front, our country’s interests are being damaged, because it is in our interest to have the possibility to influence a global document dealing with migration. We need to ask ourselves what the actual goal is here.”

What do you think the goal is?

It’s certainly not to manage the phenomenon of migration, but rather to create chaos, which is an indispensable requirement for those who are in power today in order to maintain public support. In fact, they are dismantling every successful social integration experiment or project involving migrants so they can claim to have demonstrated that this task is impossible, fueling social tensions in the process.

As long as the Lega is dictating government policy, the chances for the Global Compact to be ratified by Italy are very slim.

On this issue, their behavior was simply unbelievable. First, we saw Prime Minister Conte go to the United Nations and commit to supporting the Compact. Then, Minister Moavero Milanesi also confirmed the Italian support, as did Undersecretary Di Stefano. But, just a few days later, Salvini said it was completely out of the question. This is an outrageous loss of credibility for Italy. It has never happened before that an Interior Minister would not only stick his nose where it didn’t belong, but end up deciding the government’s line in a matter of international policy. All of this shows that this government is making it up as it goes along, that it is unable to manage the country’s international relations, and that it is making a mockery out of the role of Parliament.

Just two days ago, the President of the Republic, Mattarella, warned against the dangers of unilateralism. However, this is precisely the direction that Italy seems to be headed in, together with the whole bloc of Eastern European countries.

Italy is isolating itself completely on all the issues for which there are no solutions at the national level. Migration is one of them: it is impossible for us to manage this phenomenon all alone. Because of our turn towards Salvini’s friends, towards the Visegrad group, we are foregoing the opportunity to be an active part of a process that is of great interest to our country. And this Visegrad group has done nothing but turn its back on us, not only on the issue of migrants but also on economic issues: they were the first to announce their opposition to Italy’s plans to run a higher deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP. And then, about the draft budget, the spectacle of our chest-thumping champions of “I don’t give a crap” actually trying to negotiate with Brussels to avoid the infraction procedure just confirmed their incoherence and lack of substance. Meanwhile, Italians lost a lot of money on account of the effects of Di Maio and Salvini’s empty posturing.

As a former Democratic Party (PD) veteran, what do you think about its current situation from an outside perspective?

I think that at this point, the most important thing to do for the PD and for all progressive forces should be to open themselves up to the many movements in existence all over the country, which involve everyone who has felt excluded during the past few years—to people from the environmentalist movements, from the LGBT community, the mayors’ network, the volunteer groups, the world of labor. All these forces that have felt that they were no longer represented, but who want to do something, who don’t want to surrender into the hands of Europe-wide nationalists, but who at the same time are unwilling to vote for parties that have disappointed them in recent years.

I think the most forward-looking task would be to engage in an innovative initiative, a novel but authentic one: a common list for the European elections that would not feature the symbols of any particular party, based on 5-6 points on which we can all find common agreement. We should come to terms with the fact that the enormous crowds we have seen of late marching against the current government are resistant to the idea of voting for parties like PD or LeU. Do we want to give these people an alternative or not? The upcoming European elections will be of historic importance. How do we want to go into this fight: small and divided, giving the country over to the sovereignists?

Even more, this government is getting ready to cut the public funds for media outlets, putting many newspapers in difficulty or forcing them to close, starting with il manifesto.

In my opinion, this government has treated the free press as a nuisance in every way possible. If some newspapers will be forced to close, that would be a severe loss for our country, and I think the framework of our democracy would be harmed. These gentlemen are trying to destroy every type of middleman in order to speak directly to the people. This is how the journalist’s role as a check is being undermined.

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