The capture of the terrorists and the pro-Italian shift of the Elysée

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At the request of the Italian government, this week the French authorities issued arrest warrants against ten of our fellow citizens convicted in Italy for carrying out acts of terrorism in the Seventies and Eighties and subsequently fled beyond the Alps: seven were arrested on Wednesday, two turned themselves in yesterday, one is still a fugitive. The initial list delivered by Italy to France included 200 names.

Overall, it was a symbolic and critical sign of detente towards us by the tenant of the Elysée, President Emmanuel Macron. For decades, Paris has offered protection to associates of violent organizations in order to acquire bargaining tools vis-à-vis their countries of origin. This was the policy relating to the right of asylum enunciated in 1985 by then President of the Republic François Mitterrand, who denied extradition for acts of a violent nature but of political inspiration. In commenting on the latest arrests, Macron stressed the exceptional nature of the gesture, which does not cancel the so-called Mitterrand doctrine.

The refuge granted to hundreds of members of the Brigate Rosse, Lotta Continua and Nuclei armati per il contropotere territoriale far-left guerrilla groups has been a painful thorn in the side of the Italian-French bilateral relations. Not to mention the insult to the victims’ families and the Italian State represented by those who perceived red terrorism as a cultural phenomenon, with the great pleasure of a certain Italian “intelligentsia” that for years pretended to defend terrorists without ever defining them as such.

On a systemic level, the story is part of the evident French desire to pull Rome on its side, signalling the pro-Italian turn of the Elysée. If France needs our country to use it as a vector of influence in Europe in an anti-German function, Italy too aims to raise its profile on the continent to curb the advancement of Germany, being aware that it would not have the strength to do it alone. At stake, moreover, is to avoid that in a few years – the pandemic emergency declared over – the Berlin government might again impose austerity on EU partners.

Thanks to the arrival of Mario Draghi at Palazzo Chigi, Rome and Paris have resumed negotiating a bilateral treaty (known as the Quirinale Treaty) through which to celebrate the new partnership and with the aim of signing it by the end of the year. After appealing to Berlin’s benevolence not to default and to receive the financial help of the Recovery Fund, Italy sees France as the only counterweight that is really able to prevent our definitive sliding into the German sphere of influence. It was impossible to close such a diplomatic agreement without first resolving one of the most long-standing priorities of our Ministry of Justice in the Italian relations with the Hexagon: the extradition of terrorists.

The French magistrates have yet to give the green light and it would be prudent not to rule out twists, given the all-out wars between bureaucracies and the Elysée in France – in these hours, for example, Macron is in revolt against the judges who have declared untraceable the murder of a Jewish pensioner by a Muslim. But the handing over of the arrested to Italian authorities would be a logical consequence of a strategic necessity.