According to a scoop by Republic, the Franco-German consortium Knds would have presented Leonardo with an offer to buy Oto Melara, which is a piece of the Italian defense industry that has conquered leadership positions globally and which competes successfully both “against” German companies, both with the French industry. It is one of those companies that cannot be replicated because obtaining certifications and entries in the defense sector is very complicated and very difficult; those who have consolidated relationships and are recognized if they play it against a small number of competitors, those who are out tend to stay there. The defense industry, like others for example in the energy sector, is an irreplaceable tool of a country’s foreign policy, especially towards those in the developing world who do not have certain technologies.
The sale of Oto Melara greatly transcends economic-financial evaluations and in fact the rumor is immediately inserted in a large and broad European collaboration for the development of a tank and then in Macron’s pressing for European defense cooperation. We should ask ourselves why Italy should build European defense by selling Oto Melara to a Franco-German consortium instead of to Fincantieri, which has also expressed an interest, or why in a market navigating an ocean of liquidity Leonardo cannot find alternatives. Neither the French nor the Germans contribute to cooperation in the European defense sector by selling their companies except by selling minority packages; is an inevitable question considering the affair Fincantieri-Naval group, with the merger having failed despite years of promises and commitments, it is still fresh.
Italy is a indebted country, which has lost shares of real sovereignty like no other European country and which within a European framework can only have subordinate roles with or without Draghi. The only way to escape this trap is to present yourself with your own forces and companies. Future collaborations are then all to be demonstrated and defined. There is a transfer, of real, immediate and very concrete sovereignty in the face of a smoky European collaboration that has yet to be demonstrated; less than two years ago, with the outbreak of the pandemic, Europe melted like snow in the sun with the suspension of Schengen, the border blocks and Germany which kept the lung ventilators already bought and paid for by the Italians on German soil. Remembering this is not pessimism, but an injection of healthy realism. It is an injection of healthy realism to remember that the Libyan disaster is by no means alien to the French ambitions pursued explicitly and directly against Italian interests. If these are the premises, on the French side, there is only one possible sector of European defense: the French one under French leadership.
It can be decided that Italy still wants to do its part regardless of the others, but on a vision of this type any havoc can be grafted especially when others have given very wide demonstrations of putting their national interests in front of them always and in any case. This is the case of Fincantieri-Naval group but not only; relations on the Rome-Paris axis have been one-way for at least two decades.
In the end, the misunderstanding is always the same: there is a Europe imagined and dreamed of, Europe as it should be according to the Italian “pro-Europeans”, and then there is the Europe of reality. In this “misunderstanding”, in good faith or sometimes not, there is the story of a country that entered Europe as a protagonist that was forced to attend the intervention in Libya, to suffer the mockery of the failed operation between Fincantieri and Naval group justifying everything with the construction of the common European home. The same house where Germany opens it Nord Stream 2 and then it becomes the spokesperson for the green revolution without nuclear power and in which France generates 75% of its energy with nuclear reactors a stone’s throw from the Italian borders. It is never too late to open your eyes.
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