It is a good slap in the face, stricken knowingly and coldly. On Wednesday, the E.U. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will meet in Berlin for an “informal summit.” Italian President Matteo Renzi is not invited.
In this case, form matters much more than substance. It is unlikely relevant decisions will be made at the impromptu summit, convened under the pretext of the attendance of the three leaders at the annual dinner organized by European industrialists in the German capital. The important thing is the signal sent by leaving Italy behind, and thus sanctioning the exclusion from that European Directorate that had apparently been born in Ventotene.
Merkel played it down: “There is no discriminatory intent. This is not a break. Bilateral or trilateral meetings, like the ones held in Maranello and Ventotene, will be repeated.” There’s no justification, however, for the missing invitation to Berlin. It is perfectly self-explanatory, even though the leader accompanies the stick with the carrot. Renzi is now in detention; when he falls back in line, the smiles will return. And the invitations. The Washington Post reported that, at this rate, the E.U. risks losing its unity.