Executive Intelligence Review


Italian Prime Minister Tames Beasts in European Parliament Debate

Feb. 13, 2019 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, EIR Strategic Alert editors were present at the European Parliament debate with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and they had rarely seen a circus like that. They found the loss of reality by the European Parliament dinosaurs beyond belief, and reported, “We cannot render fully their bestiality with words. Hopefully, it was their last outburst before extinction.”

Prime Minister Conte gave a nearly hour-long speech, which was firm in its content but conciliatory and open in its form. He said that Europe has failed to become one people, because, unlike the early period of the European Community, “since 1989, a political vision, a prophetic momentum” was lacking. In the last 30 years, the crisis has been aggravated by free-market approaches, deregulation, reduction of welfare, etc. Austerity policies have contracted consumption with “devastating effects.” The “cold grammar of procedures” has increased the gap between Brussels and “the peripheries of our continent.” “The European people demand to be listened to, they call for a change in the method.” To ignore this is to “determine the implosion” of the EU. “Disillusion and resentment, if neglected, can lead to a rebellion with unpredictable results.”

Conte stressed the need for “a radical re-thinking of forms and institutions” of the EU. He then warned against antagonizing Washington, Moscow, and Beijing: The EU “must preserve its relationship with Washington,” as, even when there are conflicts, “what unites us is prevalent.” Also, “Russia and China are part of any solution” and “there is no advantage in renouncing a relationship with Russia and China.”

He then addressed the issue of migration, insisting on a new approach to Africa, based on “a partnership among equals.” The majority of African people live “in inhuman conditions of poverty” while Africa’s wealth is siphoned off to offshore centers. Conte called for investing “adequate funds” to develop Africa. The EU gave €6 billion to Turkey to control borders, but the Trust Fund for Africa is empty.

The Italian prime minister then illustrated his government program, aimed at “overcoming austerity” and achieving “social stability.” He said he is glad that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker admitted that the austerity recipe for Greece had been foolish, and stressed that “public investments are a driver for growth and not a source of deficit and instability.”

He concluded by calling for more legislative power for the European Parliament, including investigating powers.

As soon as he finished his speech, Conte became assaulted by all faction leaders of so-called established parties, dumping their rage on him and making personal attacks and insults. Starting with Manfred Weber (EPP, Christian Democrats), followed by Udo Bullmann (Socialists and Democrats), it climaxed with Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, Liberals & Democrats), who accused Conte of being a “puppet” of the Lega and M5S heads Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio.

Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister of Belgium and a key operative in the 2014 Ukrainian coup, was particularly hysterical at the fact that the Conte government “has prevented the EU from recognizing [Venezuelan putschist] Guaidó” and this was evidently done “under pressures from Russia.” Verhofstadt complained about the “political degeneration of Italy,” which had started with the Berlusconi government. The Italian government is “openly hateful” against other members of the European family. Di Maio dared to meet a Yellow Vest leader who, he said, is notorious for his violence. He then concluded: “How long, Mr. Conte, will you still be the puppet of Salvini and Di Maio?”

Bullmann accused the Italian government of isolating itself and sliding into a recession—ignoring that his country, Germany, is doing the same. He then agitated with the Russian threat and shouted about the “senseless escalation between France and Italy. What is that? What is that?” He lashed out at Deputy Prime Minister Salvini and accused the Italian government of having imperiled migrants’ lives by keeping NGO vessels out of its ports.

Weber was more polite, but demagogical in substance. The Italian government is divided on everything: on infrastructure, on the euro, on reforms of labor, the justice system, etc. He, of course, attacked Russia, and complained about Italy’s failure support to Guaidó as president of the Venezuela coup attempt.

The debate continued with mostly hysterical attacks, so much so that Parliament President Antonio Tajani had to remind the speakers that this was a debate on the future on Europe and not on the Italian government. A good chunk of Italian traitors joined the chorus.

A few MEPs intervened in support of Conte. Mara Bizzotto of the Lega reminded the established parties that, in few months, in the May European elections, they will be voted out, and called French President Emmanuel Macron a “little Napoleon.” British MEP Steven Woolfe thanked Conte for standing up to the arrogant EU oligarchy, saying, “bravo, bravo, bravo.”

In his two replies, Conte went into depth in explaining the Italian migration policy, again reiterating that “indiscriminate acceptance” and border control do not work, and the problem must be tackled at the root, i.e., in Africa. He rejected all allegations of denied rescues at sea, saying that nobody can teach lessons about humanitarianism to Italy. “It has been said that Italy has saved the honor of Europe in the Mediterranean. Maybe someone wanted Italy to keep saving the honor of Europe,” he said, polemically referring to the fact that Italy has been left by itself to deal with the problem of refugees.

He then made it clear that he won’t take insults “directed to me and even to the Italian people.” To Verhofstadt, he said that he is not a puppet of anyone; rather, “puppets are those who serve vested interests and lobbies.”

He did not flinch on Italy’s Venezuela policy. Although Italy does not recognize the recent presidential elections as fair and free, and therefore does not recognize Nicolas Maduro, nevertheless, “We do not think we should crown anyone who is not going through free and democratic elections,” he said. “Someone would like to anticipate history,” Conte said ironically, but we have seen that such attempts have resulted in catastrophes—a reference to Iraq, Libya and Syria.