Second German-Italian dialogue on the future of Europe
The European Movement in Germany (EBD) and in Italy (CIME) organised 17 and 18 July a meeting with representatives from society, politics, economics and science in order to discuss the future of the European integration, the completion of economic and monetary union and the functioning of the European multi-level political system from a bilateral perspective. It was hosted by the Secretary of State for Europe and Vice President of the CIME Sandro Gozi, who together with the German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth, MP, was patron of the dialogue.
Introducing the dialogue, CIME-President Pier Virgilio Dastoli and EM Germany Vice-President Prof. Dr. Michaele Schreyer remembered that Italy and Germany had much in common: both are pro-European, industrialised countries and both have a strong European movement.
Dastoli and Schreyer described very positively the program of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the speech of the new President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker as a new beginning for Europe: Juncker wants to reform the EU, to strengthen the Community method and to fight the euro skeptics.
For these reasons, the consultation of the Italian Presidency on the evaluation of the functioning of the European system is a good idea, they judged. It is necessary to understand what can be achieved within and with the existing treaties and what needs, in contrast, an “ordinary” reform of the Treaties. Sandro Gozi lamented the lack of flexibility of the EU, the presence of taboos like the word “federalism” and the naked fear of European politicians to reform the European institutions. For this reason, German and Italian MEP should support a reform of the EU through a European Parliament initiative.
Another issue was the Mediterranean and immigration policy. Emma Bonino, former Foreign Minister of Italy, called for a new strategy in the Mediterranean and for an EU-Commissioner for the Mediterranean region.
Then the debate went to the completion of economic and monetary union (EMU) and the cause of the euro crisis. Manuel Sarrazin pointed out that austerity and growth don’t contradict each other and Detlef Seif MP, Spokesman of the CDU/CSU in the Bundestag committee on EU Affairs, argued that austerity certainly doesn’t create new jobs. For Anna Paola Concia (board member of the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany), the crisis was caused by the lack of clear reforms, and according to Senator Paolo Guerrieri the crisis can be overcome only through common reforms. Carmelo Cedrone by the Italian Trade Union Confederation ULI went a step further and demanded a political union in which the European Parliament is the most important decision-makers.
In their conclusions, all participants called for a deepening of the foreign and security policy of the EU and for a stronger common fight against organized crime in Europe.
The dialogue suggested a German-Italian initiative for the relationship between the European Union and the Mediterranean countries through the participation and involvement of stakeholders from politics, society, economy and culture. A third German-Italian dialogue is likely to take place in Berlin in November at the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.