After an eighteen years’ break, Silvio Berlusconi signed a new contract with the Italian people. In 2001 he played the highly-publicised card of signing a written document with all the political commitments of his government agenda. The Cavaliere did it live, in one of the biggest TV show in the recent history of the Italian republic. Now, in 2019, Berlusconi committed himself to defend the interest of Italy in Europe.
On the occasion of the first meeting of the new European parliament in Strasbourg, Berlusconi, now 82 years old and the eldest serving MEP of the new European legislature, listed all his priorities for the next five years. “It is a pleasant return” to Strasbourg, Berlusconi told the press after the meeting of the EPP group. He recalled that in the past, he “worked hard here, defending the interests of Italians, and will continue to do so”.
Europe before Italy for the ‘Cavaliere’
Berlusconi was already elected member of the European Parliament in 1999. He served as MEP until the beginning of 2001, when he left the national general elections and come back to Rome to assume the role of head of government. That moment marked the start of Berlusconi’s long reign, since he remained in power until the end of 2011 (with a small parenthesis between May 2006 and May 2008, when the ormer president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, headed the Italian government).
A more Russian Europe
Twenty year after, Berlusconi is back in Strasbourg and Brussels. Here is his commitment for the next five years. First of all, to work hard in order to defend and protect the interests of Italians. In that sense, the 82-old politician seems to promise a reform of the common rules on asylum and immigration. “We need to pass a new immigration law”, he stressed. It won’t be easy to achieve, but Berlusconi mentioned the Dublin regulation reform as a matter of priority. “We need to solve the problem of migrants entitled to stay in Europe, and get a redistribution of incoming people with the right to stay”.
Secondly, the European Parliament will have to work in order to build up a true common security and defense policy. “We need to pool military forces to become a world military force”. He referred to the change of mind in the US administration, as well as the rise of new powers such as China.
Last but not least, a new relation with Russia will be needed according to Berlusconi. The oldest MEP always claimed to be in strong friendly terms with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. In name of this special personal relations, Berlusconi wants Europe to remove sanctions against Moscow and open a new chapter in the bilateral ties.
“Probably because of not capable leaders, sanctions have been imposed”. This, Berlusconi complained, pushed the Euro-Asian country away from the European orbit. “In 2002 I had convinced Russia to apply for EU membership”, he said. It is not clear what Berlusconi was referring to, since the Russians never made any attempt for such relationship. But he stated exactly what we reported, to have been the one convincing the Kremlin to join the European family.
A more right-oriented Europe
In his first public personal appearance as MEP, Berlusconi reiterated his intention to push the European People’s Party toward new political accommodations. “I wish I be able to change relations with the Socialists, in order to forge new alliances with right-wing democrats, conservatives, liberals”. In other words, Berlusconi is in search of “another majority”.
Berlusconi spent a lot of his Italian political career hunting communists. He claimed that they were in power in Italy, even when the centre-left was in opposition. One thing is for sure: his enemy will be the centre-left S&D group.