The future of Europe was supposed to be one of a common state to guarantee peace within our borders, democracy, development, growth, power at the global level.
Our founding fathers got it right when they started with first things first. They argued that, after a war, we needed our people to get to know each other to avoid a new war. They created the single market, abandoning over time almost all tariffs and forms of protectionism, allowing growing people’s mobility and finally capital mobility too. It took almost half a century but, half a century later, we can say we did it: my generation flies way more to any of the EU-28 countries than the average previous generation did, we trade, debate, build together a way vaster array of things and services than our fathers did (internet and Ryan Air helped that too!).
Then we decided that to proceed further we should become more similar to one another. Brilliant. That meant a currency union, because what a currency union requires is that our spending patterns, our work practices and habits, our desire to learn new ways of producing and trading would converge gradually, unless we want to cause a break-up of the euro union itself. We succeeded less in this endeavor for many reasons, one of them being that cultural convergence across different nations takes time and in a globalized world time is a rare commodity, especially when hit by a recession of huge dimensions. So, what would have been needed, a feature that characterizes all States composed by different regions, is a risk-sharing agreement that would embed the need to help those regions that lag behind, whether for structural reasons or cyclical ones. While structural aid has been flowing to poorer regions of Europe, it is well-known that we have constructed a European constitution that does not provide for cyclical help. Greek citizens can tell you that. In a few months Italians too will be able to.
To the contrary, we are in the process of building a new addendum to the Constitution (UK-deprived) called Fiscal Compact, that has nothing of a State compact: it does not provide for sharing but only for converging. No country’s Union of regions is built in this way and I expect we will pay dire consequences for this new Treaty.
But now there is a new twist to the dark side of this European Fiscal Compact in the process of being approved: it is a project that, in addition to its many defects, lacks totally transparency and a democratic slant in its construction.
I have just learned from a source that the new Treaty draft is in the process of being examined by national governments. I have also learned that the Italian Government is due to send its amendments by this coming December 29. I have finally learned that apparently Italian officials at the Ministry of the Economy are under the strict mandate not to reveal any of the proposals over which they are working.
Secrecy was apparently the name of the game a few centuries back for another important Constitution, the US one. On May 25, 1787, a week later than scheduled, delegates from the various states met in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. Among the first orders of business was electing George Washington president of the Convention and establishing the rules–including complete secrecy concerning its deliberations–that would guide the proceedings. (Several delegates, most notably James Madison, took extensive notes, but these were not published until decades later.)
Almost 250 years later I think democracies have evolved to a point that such secrecy is no longer needed and is likely to be harmful. Why are Italian citizens and the press not aware of the deliberations of a Government, what is more made of non elected men and women, on a critical issue such a this one?
Do Italian citizens have something to say about the fact that after the signing of this Treaty we would be mandated (as to the last available, non official, proposal) to reduce every year our debt over GDP by 1/20 of 60% ? I.e. that every year we would have to decrease our debt over GDP ratio by 3%? How could this occur in the current environment without causing the greatest recession that Italian citizens have ever witnessed?
These are issues that cannot be left in the hands of some enlightened individuals and bureaucrats. This is a primary concern of us, the citizens, and we should demand that such amendments are discussed publicly. If that will not occur a final wound will be added to a construction of peace, democracy and prosperity that every day that passes crumbles a bit more.