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MEPs from Democratic Party: the best working Italians in Brussels

Clockwise from top left: Roberto Gualtieri, David Sassoli, Merced Bresso, Nicola Danti, Alessia Mosca, Patrizia Toia. Amomg the 8 "powerful" Italian MEPs, 6 are from PD [personal archive]

Bad news come from Europe for Italy, and even worse news for Italy can come from next May elections. Among all the political forces sitting in the European Parliament, the Democratic Party (Partito democratico, or PD) is the one with the people able to influence the activity of the EU body. There are eight Italians in the list of the 100 most most influential MEPs, and six of them belong to PD. Only one politician is from EPP, and the last in the special classification is a member from the Five Star Movement (M5S).

PD had in these years the largest Italian delegation in Brussels. After the May elections things will be change. A weaker PD means a weaker Italy in shaping the legislative process. Unless other political forces decide to work to deliver in the next legislature.

Now, PD is the only Italian most pro-European self-declared force. Although Forza Italia (FI) is member of the European People’s Party, and the EPP has always showed its pro-EU commitment, both Forza Italia and the EPP are reasoning about the option to push their political agenda toward the far-right. It would mean for the EPP and its members to “betray” the European sentiment felt so far for more sovereignist projects, anti-European by definition.

According to the latest polls, Italy will send to Brussels euro-critic and euro-skeptic MEPs. PD is expected to be the third more voted party, behind Matteo Salvini’s the League and Luigi Di Maio’s M5S. Then Forza Italia and the post-fascist party Brothers of Italy will manage to elect their candidates.

It is a bad news for Italy, since only PD showed during this legislature to can drive the political activity of the European Parliament. With a weaker PD, Italy will lose its capabilities to can shape the EU politics.

Most Italian influencers belong to PD

VoteWatch wanted to make a special list of the 100 most influential MEPs. “Influence however, it is a neutral term in this context, indicating the level of power that a MEP masters in order to get things done”, the internet portal explained.

For Italy in the list were put Antonio Tajani (FI/EPP), Roberto Gualtieri (PD/S&D), Nicola Danti (PD/S&D), Fabio Massimo Castaldo (M5S/EFDD), Patrizia Toia (PD/S&D), Alessia Mosca (PD/S&D), David Sassoli (PD/S&D) e Mercedes Bresso (PD/S&D).

So, six PD men out of eight Italians, with no member from The League. It has to recalled that after the May elections The League will have the bigger delegation, with 27 MEPs.

Italians lost ground

The level of influence of Italy “has dropped” ground, VoteWatch pointed out. Italians are currently neither punching above nor below their weight. Although Italians maintained important positions such as the presidency (MEP Tajani) and vice-presidency of the European Parliament (MEP Castaldo and Sassoli), it lost the leadership of the S&D group, due to the resignation of MEP Gianni Pittella in 2018, following his election to the Italian Senate.

The idea of forcing Pittella to move from Brussels to try to get consensus in Italy didn’t pay so much in Italy, where PD was wiped away, neither did in Europe.

Even less Italian after May election?

After the elections the political landscape in the European Parliament will deeply change for Italy. VoteWatch estimated that about 60% of the top 100 most influential MEPs are likely to be re-elected, whereas we estimate that only 40% of the incumbent MEPs will be re-elected to the next Parliament. For PD a re-election of Gualtieri, Danti, Toia and Sassoli is highly likely, while Mosca announced her intention not to run again. Furthermore, it is not clear what position they can have in the next EU Parliament.

Gualtieri played a key role even because of his post of president of the committee for Economic Affairs, one of the most prominent parliamentary bodies. Sassoli is an outgoing vice-president of the Parliament, while Toia is the current head PD delegation. Of course the role matters, and what will happen to these MEPs in the near future has to be seen.

When it come to Tajani, doubts raise up. He is the best MEP in terms of influence so far, according to VoteWatch. Will be even in the next European Parliament? Hard to say. If Berlusconi is elected, as it seems, Tajani will lose his personal freedom of acting. Tajani’s loyalty to Berlusconi is well known, so it is very likely that the outgoing president of the European Parliament will follow the instructions of his “master”.

Italy already lost influence and credibility in the European Council, where governments sit. Giuseppe Conte is considered an acting prime minister, not a true prime minister. Matteo Salvini never had a talk on migration since he became minister for Home affairs. Thus Italy is missing in action in the Council. In three weeks from now the once EU founder State will have even less influence in the Parliament.

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