Six weeks before Italy's parliamentary elections on March 4, campaigning is in full swing. Italian commentators discuss the significance of the elections for the EU and what Italian politicians should be focussing on in this respect.
Be wary of misjudgements
Writing in La Stampa, political scientist Marta Dassù calls on Italian politicians to be realistic:
“On the one hand Italy must avoid falling into the trap of believing that the rest of Europe sees its case as an existential threat to the EU and that it can therefore turn its own weakness into a strength at the negotiating table. ... On the other hand it must avoid underestimating its own significance regarding the variety of issues that could change the balance of power in the EU, for example issues like the Eurozone, migration, defence and security. ... Caught between exaggerating their weaknesses and underestimating their strengths, Italians could lose sight of the most important thing: namely that rather than playing out its role in the declining Europe of yesterday, Italy must shoulder its responsibilities in the Europe of tomorrow that is now emerging.”
Mountain of debt must be reduced!
Italy's high public debt is the country's main problem, economist Salvatore Bragantini writes in Corriere della Sera:
“We must, as [ECB chief Mario] Draghi has demanded, adopt clear and credible measures to cut the public debt. Its sheer scale makes it the biggest threat to the future of the EU. ... Whoever takes over government of the country after March 4 must bite the bullet and take decisions that can't be put off any longer. Only then can we expect openness from Europe on other fronts: from the taking in of refugees to mutual protection of deposits, to job creation programmes. ... Other states also need to have courage, but right now we are called on to confront the reality. A look at our alternatives should suffice for us to set aside our fears.”