Italian Greens ambitions are over as former Five Star ally joined Emma Bonino’s party

The European elections adventure for the Italian Greens is over, as their ally Federico Pizzarotti’s Italy in Common (IiC, or Italia in Comune) decided to quit the coalition in order to join More Europe (+Europa), the political party of former European Commissioner Emma Bonino. This political move will make very complicated – and even impossible – for the Greens to try to reach the 4% threshold required by the Italian electoral law to bring candidates to the European Parliament.

At the beginning of January Pizzarotti called a press conference to announce his intention to run for the next European elections together with the Federation of the Greens (FdV) and Green Italy (GI). For the occasion the representatives of all these three forces made a joint appearance in front of the journalists. The co-president of the group of European Greens, Philippe Lamberts, was also there. 

After two legislatures outside the European Parliament, it seemed that the Italian Greens could finally return to Brussels. The political purpose was indeed to relaunch the ecologist forces of Italy in Europe. But this last-minute defection is now going to seriously compromise all the activity conducted so far. With only two months until the European elections, it won’t be easy at all for the Greens to regain the loss of voters resulted be the departure of IiC.

Goodbye and good luck

The reason behind Pizzarotti’s change of mind (and change of coalition) is unclear. Possibly polls and projections can be a valid reason. More Europe is expected to receive a popular support of around 3,3%, more than what the alliance with Greens could obtain. In terms of mere calculations, an electoral ticket +Europa-IiC can give Pizzarotti more guarantees to bring people to the European Parlaiment.

“People from Pizzarotti’s staff are worried by polls”, said Angelo Bonelli, National President of the Federation of the Greens, upset for not having been informed in advance. According to his version of the facts, in the Green world nobody was informed about Pizzarotti’s intentions.

“I have learned, indeed we the Greens have learned, that Federico Pizzarotti’s political movement Italy in Common decided not to form an alliance with the Greens for the next European elections”, Bonelli regretted. “IiC decided instead to form an alliance with more Europe, despite Pizzarotti had a political agreement with the Greens and announced the alliance in public events”.

Liberals are better than Greens

Pizzarotti is a former Five Stars Movement (M5S) member. In 2012 he was elected as major of Parma, in the north of Italy, within the lists of M5S. Then problems came in 2016, when Pizzarotti was expelled from the Movement, due to differences with the top figures of the party. Since then he created his own political party, claiming to have an ecologist agenda. This is why he decided to run together with the Greens, before he switched to the liberal path.

The former Five Stars politician justified his last-minute choice saying he wishes to “talk to everyone in order to look for common ground”. More Europe prevailed, in the end. “As from today the destiny of Italy and Europe is also in the hands of a new political alliance between Italy in Common and More Europe”. Consequently, the green project is over, both for the Italian Greens and IiC. But the choice of the European Liberals (ALDE) has been made.

“Our challenge begins now”, More Europe announced. “The experience of Pizzarotti is complementary to that of +Europa”, added the founder of the party, Emma Bonino. “Together we could offer a beautiful novelty”.

Now More Europe can really aspire to have candidates elected for the next European Parliament. For Italy the price to pay is the loss, once again, of a green representation.

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