Those who don’t vote allow others to decide their future. The turnout figure for the 2014 European Parliament elections reached an all-time low at 42.54%. For Italy the figure was 57.22%, higher than the EU average, but in constant and dramatic decline since European elections were first held in 1979.
This is the context in which the youth organisation of Italy’s Confindustria gave its support to the European Parliament initiative “This Time I Vote” (StavoltaVoto.eu) by inviting its associates to register on the dedicated website and spread the message in their networks of the importance to cast a vote.
The General Confederation of Italian Industry, commonly known as Confindustria, is the Italian employers’ federation and national chamber of commerce, founded in 1910. It groups together more than 113,000 voluntary member companies, accounting for nearly 4,200,000 individuals. Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs gathers business-minded people aged between 18 and 35 and counts 13,000 member companies.
Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs stress on their official website that this organization is non-partisan, the founding values of which are the free market, the equality of opportunity, innovation and transparency.
“This time I’m voting”, the president of the Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs symbolically announced on the eve of Christmas. The Italian industrial world decided to actively invite people to vote, being strongly aware of what is at stake.
“The European Union and EU citizenship are an intangible asset”, pointed out Alessio Rossi, head of Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs.
“Our entrepreneurs, our young people, are European in their DNA”, said Rossi, adding: “We want to show all this, and we want to tell the stories of entrepreneurs and young people who live and grow up thanks to decision of the European Union”.
#StavoltaVoto per le #giovanimprese | Il 60% dei giovani sotto i 30 anni ha fiducia nell’UE, ma questa fiducia si dimezza dopo i 50 anni. Ci rivolgiamo quindi ai giovani: ricostruiamo la cittadinanza europea con la fiducia e le azioni. Iniziamo andando a votare – @alessio_rss pic.twitter.com/wbo8990wDm— GI Confindustria (@GIConfindustria) December 17, 2018
For the Italian employers’ organization there is little doubt that EU funds, EU projects, EU initiatives of various nature make a big difference. Despite populist calls to abandon the common currency and to return to protectionist policies, industrialists are aware that the European Union offers a lot of opportunities for industries of any size, including the small and mediums ones, more in need of help than the bigger firms. Structural funds, the COSME program e for the competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises, the Investment plan for Europe are just three examples of what Europe can do to stimulate economy and boost business all across the territory of all the 28 member states, including Italy. And of course, the single market and the single currency are the two main achievements to be maintained and preserverd, according to Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs.
“Many firms wouldn’t exist without a united Europe and a common market”, Rossi said.
The Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs Movement thus decided to join the campaign “This time I’m voting”, launched by the European Parliament at the end of August this year in order to call for voters to participate to the European elections in May. The “ad-hoc” initiative aims to recruit as many activists as possible to convince citizens of the importance of casting a ballot.
“People vote for whomever they prefer, they choose the candidates they consider the best, but they vote”, stressed the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. The Italian politician is himself from the EPP-affiliated Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi.
The engagement of the youth section of Confindustria is not a surprise, since the Italian employers’ organisation is one of the 39 EU and non-EU members of BusinessEurope, the Confederation of European Business, sometimes called the most powerful lobby in the EU. Moreover, Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs is part of the YES network, the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs acting as a sort of a youth branch of Business Europe. According to the organisation led by Rossi, YES is an important platform for “soft lobby”, networking and awareness for policies that matter for the continent
With the electoral success of far-right and anti-system forces in the national elections, it is hardly surprising that for the Italian industrial world the next European elections matter. The more the next European Parliament will be made of pro-European forces, the more the Italian business will be assured of clear rules and a stable environment.
Obviously, for the Italian business, Europe and its institutions are also a safeguard.