«We are Europe. Our party is Europe. The EPP is identified with the very idea of Europe ”. These are not words of circumstance. It is the beginning of the speech that Silvio Berlusconi reserves to the audience of the EPP meeting in Rome. Not words, therefore, of circumstance. The blue leader explains with an effective synthesis why the values on which the very idea of Europe is based coincide perfectly with those of the party that has the honor and the burden of leading: the European community recognizes itself in its Christian roots and values of democratic liberalism.
With emotion, the blue leader remembers the moment when he finally returned to cross the Brandenburg Gate without showing documents. And of the moment when it was no longer necessary to show the passport. And of the fact that the European brand has the features of the admirable cathedrals (the Parisian Notre-Dame, the Cologne Cathedral, the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, the Milanese Cathedral) which constitute the symbol of common Christian roots. Berlusconi also has an easy game in recalling those statesmen who were the first to trace the path of Christian and liberal formation on which the best community policy grew. He uses the names of De Gasperi, Adenauer and Schumàn. In short, it exhibits the best of the popular and European Pantheon to confirm to the audience of the Roman summit that the glorious past still has many things to make use of in the near future.
“Anyone who has known the great tragedies of the 20th century, the wars, divisions, lacerations that devastated Europe in the last century – recalls the leader of Forza Italia – does not find it difficult to understand what revolutionary significance it had, a few years after the war , imagining to bring together peoples and nations that had fought fiercely until recently ».
The future must start from this enlightened past, he says. And only with a sense of responsibility can we understand the extent of the challenges that await our continent. “In the great global challenges – warns Berlusconi – only if we are united will we have the opportunity to exercise a role in defense of our interests, our values, our very identity”. «The painful experience of Afghanistan – he adds – has dramatically confirmed two aspects that are increasingly evident in the 21st century. The first is that the United States remains essential friends and allies but is no longer able to be alone the guarantors of the liberal order in the world. The second aspect is that Europe will not be able to play any autonomous role until it has a single foreign policy, supported by a strong, united and credible European military instrument ”.
Berlusconi’s speech convinces not only the audience of the EPP. Streamed across social media, it has had a large following. Confirming the centrality of the political role of the Forza Italia leader who only two weeks ago displaced political commentators and the judiciary by denouncing the offensive provocation of the psychiatric report for Ruby ter. Also on that occasion he gathered the solidarity not only of traditional allies but also that of historical antagonists such as Romano Prodi (“that request for expertise is pure madness”).
In introducing the intervention of the Italian president, Manfred Weber, in the role of landlord as president of the European People’s Party group, thanked Berlusconi for having always believed in European values. “Even when populists tried to sell the easy message of nationalism and selfishness to Italians – remembers Weber – keeping in mind the political developments in Italy, with the government of Mario Draghi and the real possibility of reforms, we can really say that Forza Italia is contributing a lot to the message that Italy is back. Investments are making a comeback: it’s a great thing and it’s a European approach, thanks to the guidance of Silvio and Antonio (Tajani, ed). And we see that the growing Italian delegation is leading the way on many issues ». While Salvini is dismissed with a lapidary: “I do not comment on the parties but if you want to have a future in Italy you need reasonable and pro-European politicians”.
Tajani underlines Berlusconi’s far-sightedness and his tenacity in wanting to enhance the European caliber of Forza Italia’s political action. «Our movement – comments the national coordinator of the Azzurri – is proud to have been part of the Ppe group for some time. And the presence of the top of the party in Rome, close to the administrative elections, is a demonstration of the loyalty that characterizes the relations between the EPP and the Azzurri ».
Many reactions to Berlusconi’s speech. “A party like Forza Italia – explains the minister for regional affairs Mariastella Gelmini -, firmly anchored to liberal thought, to moderate thought, to popularism and precisely to Europeanism, will increasingly play a decisive role in consolidating these founding values of our society and our democracy “.
“The guiding phrase of Berlusconi’s speech,” our party is Europe “- remembers the minister for the South and territorial cohesion, Mara Carfagna -, is the best synthesis of the role that the Italian moderates must assume in the next two years, with a simple goal: to consolidate European trust in our country system. There is no future for Italy without Europe. Being with Europe is the real patriotic choice ».