It seems that the so-called treatise of the Quirinale is moving forward rapidly. Even in France they call it this, in honor of Mattarella, but the more correct name is “treaty of bilateral cooperation strengthened between Italy and France”. Little, almost nothing, has always been known about the agreement and the work of the working groups, but currently some drafts of the document are circulating and some newspapers have raised the alarm.
Between the parties – says al Subsidiary Carlo Pelanda, economist, consultant several times of the Italian governments between the first and second republics – “there is a palpable and embarrassing asymmetry: France knows what it wants, Italy does not“. Or rather: some Italians know it very well. The fact is that the signing would sanction “an industrial and strategic self-annexation to France, sweetened but substantial” explains Pelanda. Across the board: industry, borders, energy, defense. A mistake that Italy would pay dearly and that Draghi may not be willing to commit. The conditional, for now, remains a must.
It is easy to say the treatise of the Quirinale; what are we talking about?
Of the leak put into circulation by someone who works at the Farnesina. Some drafts are more detailed, others less. The degree of secrecy surrounding this treaty is remarkable. If it weren’t very real and troubling, it would seem like a joke.
Mattarella is the first defender of the treaty. There is not much to joke about.
Let’s take the macro part: what sense does it make today to sign a 360-degree bilateral treaty with France in a Europe where Italy and other nations would, if anything, have the opposite interest, that of weakening the Franco-German Elysée treaty that have you been driving Europe since 1963?
And that has been updated in Aachen in 2019.
Just that. If two countries sign a selective treaty and create an asymmetrical situation, they further fragment the Union. There is already the Visegrád group doing it.
One could argue: we need someone to take responsibility for the European initiative.
There is a political and diplomatic culture that says just that. The thesis is not entirely unrealistic. But this is how Europe breaks up. Rather, France, Germany, Italy and Spain sign a treaty of enhanced cooperation along certain lines of EU deepening. It is another method.
Instead Macron insists. Mattarella also. They want this signature.
I wait to see what Germany will do. Maybe Scholz will say yes, only to wage underground warfare. Berlin is not at all respecting the adaptation of the Elysée Treaty made in Aachen. Especially in the most important protocols, the industrial ones. The Germans are giving Paris only a few sugars, like the cross-border brigade. A mockery.
What should be done in Europe?
Converge on the most important challenges: the climate one, the geopolitical one towards China. By removing the federation from his head, a project that cannot exist.
You have seen the proofs. What impression did you get from it?
I’ve seen the drafts and some correspondence. The attentive eye does not escape the fact that the French technicians show that they know very well what they want, while the Italian ones are confused, they try to make counter-proposals that are weak because they lack perspective. There is a palpable and embarrassing asymmetry.
The worst case scenario?
That of sanctioning an industrial and strategic self-annexation to France. Sweetened but substantial. And then there is a political knot. Can such a treaty be signed without discussing it in parliament? Surely the chambers must ratify it, otherwise it will not enter into force.
Are we risking another treaty of Caen, with which Gentiloni, as foreign minister of the Renzi government, gave France 350 square kilometers of Italian territorial waters?
It’s possible. Certainly there is the role of Gentiloni.
What would it be?
In 2018 Gentiloni, as head of the government, gave in on the Quirinale treaty, earning the degrees on the field to be Moscovici’s successor. And now he is defending it to aspire to the Colle.
French minister Bruno Le Maire spoke of a “new European empire” in one of his books. A political project to avoid leaving Europe exposed to the conditioning of the USA and China. Is this the French project?
Of course. Otherwise called the Latin Empire. And the grand strategy launched by De Gaulle in the 1960s. He planned to use Europe to create a French empire, as France alone could no longer have such an ambition. Like? Command over other European countries in order to have a scale effect and dialogue on an equal footing with other powers in the world.
The place of Italy in this picture?
She had to be part of it, then in 1963 she was expelled from the treaty with Germany because it was considered too pro-American. And then Rome in 1962 had helped the Algerian independence supporters of the Fln.
What if we want to get to more recent events?
In 1993 the strategy changed, at least as far as we are concerned. The French objective became that of conquering Italy directly, economically and financially, also to counter the German excessive power.
Partly successful economic offensive, don’t you think?
We were weaker and we sold a part of the defense industry, some banks, a piece of Generali. We defended ourselves by producing disorder, especially between 2001 and 2005, so that the French didn’t quite understand what to do. It worked a little.
Germany does not respect the agreements and Macron is in serious trouble. Great Britain has left the EU, France would like to use Brexit to gain European leadership but no one is in it.
Mattarella is for the liquidation of any form of residual sovereignty. How do you think Draghi do you think and what do you want to do?
I can’t know, mine is just a bet. I don’t think Draghi wants to sign that treaty. It will take time. At the G20 we saw his modus operandi: the proponents of decarbonization in 2060 wanted ten more years to have their way, Draghi did not turn a blind eye and put the “half-century” turning point in the agreement. Mid-century is 2050, but it is also something else, the time it takes to agree on other levers. I would be very surprised if the pragmatic Draghi made Italy an askar of France. Above all, not taking into account relations with Germany, which are more important to us.
Could Draghi oppose Macron with a clear refusal?
No, because there is the French blackmail on the Italian debt. The ECB president has power essentially based on his reputation, and Christine Lagarde has little. But on the formal level it has the power of the calendar.
On October 28, Lagarde said that Pepp’s one-off purchases program will end in March 2022. A serious central banker would simultaneously announce the activation of a program under study by the ECB called App (Asset purchase program) to continue part of the purchases. , in order to avoid a shock for the most indebted countries. This lack of announcement cost us the passage of the spread from 100 to 130, an instant mini-crisis of confidence in the Italian debt. Just at the moment when Draghi and Franco communicate a golden scenario for Italy and the premier is preparing to chair the G20.
A technical error by Lagarde.
Intentions cannot be tried. But I have a doubt and coincidences in politics do not exist.
What would the US say if Italy signed the treaty?
Washington must focus its attention on other theaters and would well see a convergence of Italy and France for the presidium of Africa, where Niger is the true southern border of the EU. But it should be a military agreement under the NATO umbrella. Nothing else.
To be clear, no strategic autonomy.
It would be dangerous, not only for Italy but for France itself. If the allies had a problem in the Mediterranean or in North Africa, then the US would have the formal right to say: well, now unravel the problem for yourself.
Macron should be told.
Macron is proving not to be sufficiently lucid. We’ve been clumsy on Aukus, Biden told him at the G20. But it is only a pat on the back when the game is over, because in the meantime the US has done what they wanted.
In 1993 you were advisor to the Foreign Minister Andreatta. What do you remember?
A draft bilateral Italy-France treaty arrived on my table. There was a detailed list of companies and banks that could be merged.
Then we are still there. It is the past that does not pass.
Only then Andreatta said: let’s not joke. The United States were much stronger, we in Ciampi’s time had a greater weight, the French had other problems and were unable to lunge. Fabius tried again a few years later with Finmeccanica, thanks also to the complicity of some Italian elites. We managed to thwart the attempt, thanks to some counter-moves and some compromises.
Why is so little known about the Quirinal Treaty?
Palazzo Chigi has repeatedly made it clear that it is better for the press not to deal with this matter. In fact, few do.
Is it forbidden to disturb the driver?
It can also mean that Draghi intends to play alone, as his style. Who knows, maybe because he doesn’t trust someone else.
In 2018 the working group was established. Sylvie Goulard, Pascal Cagni and Gilles Pécout for the French side, Paola Severino, Franco Bassanini and Marco Piantini for the Italian side. What do these names tell you?
Legions of honor. But since last August the Foreign Ministry has been dealing directly with it, where someone has filtered some information, believing that the situation is very worrying. We have to thank your initiative. However, we do not know the fundamental details.
Why does he say this?
Because the accounts don’t add up. Until recently it was thought that the treaty included two or three subjects at the most, to cushion the clash with France, but this is not the case. Again: Macron’s pressure has increased, and it seems proportionate to his desperation. Then there is the Germany factor: can we sign without the new government in Berlin? Finally, the “French party” in Italy, whose list is much longer than that of the legions of honor.
It is a difficult moment, which leads Draghi to be very cautious and reserved.
If we finally sign?
It would be a disastrous surrender. But it could also be an extreme defensive strategy.
By signing, we reassure Macron, and in the meantime let’s see if he will be re-elected; then we postpone the ratification, as was the case with the Treaty of Caen. This is also a road. But it is more dangerous than the first.
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