Defending the EU Rather Than One’s Own Country – Consortiumnews

The attempt by the Italian president to install an outsider from the IMF to be prime minister symbolized an end of national sovereignty in Europe, reports Andrew Spannaus.

By Andrew Spannaus
in Milan
Special to Consortium News

By invoking his power last month to reject a proposed government minister because of the his critique of the EU, Italian President Sergio Mattarella made it clear that his priority is not to defend the Italian state—his job, theoretically—but rather the European Union.

This put into the open something rarely admitted publicly: that Italy—like other European countries—has essentially given up its existence as a sovereign nation-state. The EU treaties adopted by national parliaments now take precedence over the basic principles of each member country’s constitution.

Mattarella had announced on May 27 that Paolo Savona, the minister of the economy proposed by the populist parties that won the March elections, was unacceptable because of his critical position towards the EU. The president said the appointment would spook the markets and threaten the survival of the Euro. When the two populist parties that had joined together to govern, the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League, insisted on keeping Savona, Mattarella exercised his power to reject their choice and began plans to appoint an IMF technocrat who would guarantee the current budget orthodoxy while taking the country towards new elections.

Luigi di Maio, the 31-year old M5S leader, ultimately got Matteo Salvini, head of the League, to partially relent, shifting Savona to another position in order to avoid the collapse of their newly-formed coalition. Yet the brief firestorm touched off by the clash with Mattarella was revealing, as it risked doing precisely what the president and his EU backers fear most—promote even more opposition to the loss of national sovereignty that has occurred over the past 25 years.

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