“Just go to Amazon and search for the book ‘Giulio Andreotti and Europe’. Then, just by its size, you will realize how pro-European Andreotti was”. Lorenzo Cesa, member of the committee on Foreign Affairs and one of the two co-chairs of the Italian delegation into the EPP group together with Elisabetta Gardini, gave a fresh example to recall the role played by one of the vintage Italian politicians.
It’s true. The document mentioned by Cesa is a 344-pages book, not really a small one. But that makes sense, since Andreotti has been in politics for half a century. He was into the team of the decision-makers who drafted the Italian Constitution, in 1946, he was among those who signed the Maastricht treaty, the political base of the modern EU.
Andreotti attended 29 European council meetings as prime minister, plus European meetings at ministerial level. Does it mean anything? Cesa organized in the European Parliament a conference in honor of Andreotti on the anniversary of the centenary of his birth [he was born on 19 January 1919]. Andreotti, Cesa said, “has been the politician who most of all was able to follow De Gasperi’s choices, the choices of Europe and the Atlantic Alliance”.
You organized this event. Why Andreotti is so important for Europe?
“Andreotti was a strong supporter of the European Union, from the very beginning until the end, until the Maastrich treaty. And he never changed his mind on Europe. He was a partisan, nevertheless he has always worked to make the different parts talk to each other”.
You mentioned and recalled Andreotti’s commitment for Europe. How can that spirit be given back to the European project?
“Through concreteness in political action. Europe must give concrete answers to the citizens and their needs. I think in particular of unemployment and the need to create more jobs. I think of young people and those who are at risk of social exclusion. We have to listen to them and provide proper tangible answers. Another way to refuel Europe is with Andreotti’s spirit is the defense of values. We have to defend the values on which the European Union is built, because without these values it is not possible to build Europe”.
How can populism be defeated?
“I think exactly in the same way I just said: through concrete answers, with concrete policies. I am sure this is the way to proceed. In May, the challenge will be between those looking to the future and those who do not. We look at the future with more ambition, but there are those who look at you with fear. If we give answers to these fears, we will defeat populism and populists”.
What can we expect by the European elections? What kind of European Parliament will be the next one?
“Let wait and see. What I know for sure is that the EPP will play a key and central role, despite what populists say”.