Between closeness and distance

This week the spotlight of the country, and not only, has been on Paris, where on Tuesday took place the highly awaited meeting between Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French President Macron, after months of rather complicated diplomatic relations between the two governments. Officially in France to support Rome’s candidacy to host Expo 2030 before the General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the bilateral meeting between the two presidents focused on the common will to heal the recent tensions triggered by Paris. They then focused on the geopolitical issues on which the two leaders are most closely related, starting with the war in Ukraine and the need to approve the so-called reform of the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact. A successful and very concrete summit, according to Meloni, which softened positions even on the most critical issue, that of immigration: «It seems to me that the position requested by Italy to focus on the external dimension in order to address the internal issue is convergent. We have made important steps forward on this dossier, which now becomes strategic in view of the European Council at the end of the month. It is essential for Italy to make concrete progress on cooperation with African countries». On this point, the Franco-Italian axis on the management of the Tunisian and Libyan situation and on how to circumscribe illegal immigration ab origine was strengthened in particular. The affectionate “on-camera” hugs seemed to indicate the choice of the two Presidents to use dialogue as the measure and national interests as the guiding objectives, always with an awareness of realpolitik, which unites the strategies of two countries that boast a total interchange of around 111 billion euros.

And if abroad there is an air of détente and agreement, in Italy the majority has stumbled over the Jobs Decree, pointing to a lack of unity within the coalition, as criticised by the opposition. On Wednesday, in fact, the Senate Budget Committee rejected the amendments to the Jobs Decree tabled by Paola Mancini (FdI) due to the absence of two FI senators, Mancini and Lotito. The centre-right’s flagship measure therefore had to suffer a setback before the new vote in the evening. An incident «devoid of any political value, a storm in a glass of water» for Minister Tajani; «a message that a piece of Forza Italia wanted to give: if this is the debut of the post-Berlusconi period, the majority risks chaos» according to the leader of Azione Calenda. The same chaos of which PD secretary Elly Schlein also speaks, proof of how the majority cannot get «the amendments prepared at the last minute to put patches on the many abominations contained in the work decree» approved.

However, the Secretary’s party certainly cannot boast granitic unity, especially not this week. In fact, Schlein was criticized by an important part of her party for participating in a demonstration “against precariousness at work” organized by the M5S in Rome on Saturday. In the hours following the demonstration, there were several public statements by prominent PD members that eventually led Alessio D’Amato, former Lazio Health Councillor, to resign from the party’s national assembly. Beyond the specific occasion of the event, the event brought out in a public and concrete way an internal rift that has existed for years, now accentuated by a “divisive” presidency such as Schlein’s, which is also manifested in the support or otherwise for the alliance with the M5S. A point that was dealt with on Monday afternoon during the PD national leadership, where the secretary repeatedly called for a necessary sense of unity and solidarity among party members: «Discussions and criticism are fine, but also loyalty on the issues that unite us. You will never have to convince me that the secretary alone is not enough, I have said this from the beginning. There is, however, a need for loyalty and respect, not to me as secretary but to the party and the primary voters».

Trying to rediscover its own balance, after the recent death of leader Berlusconi, is also Forza Italia, which convened its Presidential Committee on Thursday afternoon. The National Council called to elect the new president will be held on 15 July and only later, in 2024, will the actual Congress be convened. In this first phase, it will be Minister Tajani who will assume the leadership of the party, as Licia Ronzulli had already anticipated in the afternoon. The Council on the 15th will also be the occasion when Fabio Roscioli, a Roman lawyer, will be formally assigned the role of treasurer, replacing Alfredo Messina. Therefore, at least for the moment, the party will continue under the banner of continuity, consecrating Tajani as the guarantor of the unity of a party that had recently shown itself divided between the more moderate component, which refers to Ronzulli, and the more governmentist one, which found its reference in the Berlusconi-Tajani-Fascina axis.