Europe at the center of the week

This week, European headquarters have been the scene of major political developments, starting with the so-called “Qatargate” that has been at the center of national and international debate in recent days. Indeed, a week has passed since the start of the case on the alleged pressure from Qatar to influence the European Parliament’s decisions in its favor, when last Friday the Belgian police arrested four people, including former Italian MEP Antonio Panzeri and the now former Vice-President of the Parliament Eva Kaili, who was forced to leave office a few days ago. The formal charges are criminal conspiracy, money laundering and corruption, although the investigations are still ongoing and, as of today, many details are still unclear or not known at all. However, the macro affair inevitably ends up spilling over into the reputation and trust of the European institutions and in part threatens to ruin Italy’s image abroad, to which the “direction” of the case seems to be attributed to date. 


Also commenting on the affair was Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni directly from Brussels, where she took part in her first European Council meeting. Harsh words from the Prime Minister on the case that also concerns the country she heads: «The contours of the affair are quite devastating. In these cases I believe that the reaction counts a lot and that it must be firm and decisive». In the meantime, the Prime Minister once again shows his strongly Atlanticist intentions to his international colleagues, while not wanting to spare himself on issues such as immigration and energy, which are of central interest to the country. And on this the PM did not betray expectations, reiterating in Brussels the position that Italy has expressed to date: the whole of Europe must address the energy crisis as soon as possible by responding to the needs of its citizens and businesses, and it must react collectively to the new increase in migratory flows, in line with the values of solidarity and responsibility that are dear to the member countries. Closing the Summit, Meloni said she was satisfied with the agreement reached by the Council, which also sealed the renewal of support for Ukraine. On the issue, moreover, Italy took a clear position this week with the extension by Parliament of the sending of arms to Kiev for 2023. «Military aid will end only when there is a peace table», it was with these words that Defence Minister Guido Crosetto reiterated the commitment made to Kiev by the previous Draghi government. And it was done with a very broad support considering that in both the Chamber and the Senate, the PD and the Terzo Polo supported the majority resolution, demonstrating internationally that Rome’s position on Kiev continues to have solid support despite the change of government. Behind the decision of the two opposition parties there also seems to be an agreement that effectively isolates the M5S and the Alleanza Verdi-Sinistra, who have always been opposed to the issue but are now in a clear minority. 


Last but not least, on Wednesday the European Commission gave the green light to Italy’s financial measure, currently being discussed in Parliament, describing it as «positive overall». On the whole, the Commission appreciated the “prudent” approach of the Budget Law, even though there were some «critical remarks» on taxation, the POS ceiling and pensions. In any case, Palazzo Chigi declared itself extremely satisfied with the judgment expressed, which ‘confirms the goodness of the Italian government’s work and underlines the solidity of the economic measure, reaffirming the vision of development and growth that guides it’.

All this keeping in mind that another front no less dear to Italy, that of the NRRP, will soon open in Brussels. At the Ministry of the Economy, they say they are optimistic that all 55 targets indicated in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan will be achieved by 2022, thus enabling them to present the third request for 19 billion in funding by the end of December.