Tajani angers Croatia and Slovenia
At a ceremony commemorating those who were killed for revenge by Yugoslavian partisans between 1943 and 1945 EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani declared "Long live Italian Istria and Italian Dalmatia". Both regions belonged to Yugoslavia after the war and now belong to its successors Slovenia and Croatia. Not only the leaders of these countries are furious.
There is nothing that can justify Tajani's comments, Jutarnji list rails:
“'Long live Italian Dalmatia' has only one meaning, no matter what the context: the president of the EU Parliament means that the city of Zadar is in Croatia only for the time being. With this statement he is attacking all the values that he should be fiercely defending as head of the EU's only elected body. ... The scandal is similar to the one several years ago when Silvio Berlusconi likened Martin Schulz to a Nazi concentration camp commander in the EU Parliament. In case anyone doesn't know, Tajani is a member of the party of which Berlusconi is still the head. And Berlusconi sees Tajani as Italy's future leader.”
Populism always has the same causes
Economist Jože P. Damijan is reminded by Tajani's speech of the dark times under Mussolini's rule. He highlights the parallels in his blog:
“Populism back then had the same roots as it does today in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. In both cases it is caused by growing social discontent after years of economic misery. ... In such circumstances false messiahs and populists come to the fore who look for external causes and culprits and offer simple solutions. They portray their nation as the victim, laying the groundwork for their own success which is then maintained by fuelling hatred for all things foreign.”