The Italian Democratic Party (Partito democratico, or PD) is going to miss key actors on the European scene. Two women, Alessia Mosca and Silvia Costa, announced their intention not to run for the 26 May European elections. So did Paolo De Castro, the agriculture nerd, who was convinced to change his mind and run for a third time. In all cases the decision was personal. Officially, it was not PD to close the door to the three MEPs for a new mandate. The three PD members come out with public statement in their own name.
The Democratic Party has recently elected Nicola Zingaretti as its new secretary, and among other duties he will be in charge of the electoral lists in the view of the European vote. Mosca, Costa and De Castro’s farewell to Europe (maybe simply a goodbye?) didn’t appear to come from the PD headquarters. What came from the PD headquarters was the request for De Castro to stay.
On 26 May the Italians will also vote for local administrations. Mosca comes from Lombardy, and in this norther region 995 towns (including major cities of Bergamo, Cremona and Pavia), will renew their local government.
Mosca chose Italy
“After ten years in the Parliament, I choose not to run not because of a having some rest”, Mosca explained. “I decided not to run again because I feel I want to live a season of direct engagement with Italy, in order to be closer to the territories and to the people”.
Alessia Mosca, aged 43, current member of the committee for International Trade, was elected for the first time at the European Parliament in 2014. Previously (2009-2013) she was member of the Italian Parliament, where she worked in the European Affairs committee. Now she decided it was time for her to come back home. Anyway, she promised to keep working for Europe even if not in the European Parliament any longer.
Costa leaves as well
After two mandates, Silvia Costa also decided to put to an end to her MEP experience. “I will continue to commit myself with passion on these issues, keeping alive the skills and the networks built over the years in Italy and in Europe”, she said, announcing the intention of not being a candidate for the next European legislature.
Aged 69, Silvia Costa was elected for the first time at the European Parliament in 2009. She was then re-elected in 2014. Current member of the committee on Culture and Education, she was also in the committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (2009-2012).
Mosca and Costa’s announcements don’t sound as a surprise. Many things in PD will change anyway. In terms of seats, the Democratic Party won’t be able to repeat the ‘exploit’ experienced in 2014. Five years ago PD got 40,8% of support, its best result ever. Thanks to this electoral ‘boom’ the party brought to Brussels 31 MEPs. It won’t be the case this time.
According to the latest projections collected and elaborated by the European Parliament, the Democratic Party is expected to obtain 20,6% of votes, meaning 18 seats. So it is natural that some of the current MEPs will not stay in the next European Parliament.
In such a situation, it is also logic that politicians work to a ‘plan B’, and this seems to be the case for Mosca and Costa.
De Castro, should I stay or should I go?
As already said, Paolo De Castro announced his intention to step down. For him no politics anymore, according to what he said in the principle. His intention is to come back to the University of Bologna, where he still is an ordinary professor.
A member of European Parliament since 2009, De Castro was twice minister for Agriculture (1998-2000, 2006-2008) and one of the main political players in shaping the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). He is really appreciated in Europe by all political sides, and has a very good reputation. De Castro is one of the best people PD can send in Europe, and as it was easy to imagine, he was persuaded to change his mind.
In Italy the agricultural world pushed to keep De Castro in Europe. National associations consider it essential for the country to have in Brussels a prominent figure such as De Castro.
The Democratic Party considered the possibility to ask De Castro to change plans and stay as MEP. Legally speaking, there are no problems. According to the article 21, paragraph 3, of the statute of the Democratic Party, the one who has held three mandates as member of the national and European Parliament shall not be nominated again. De Castro has had two mandates, so a third chance is possible. And so it will.
Having De Castro on board would mean for PD a strong card against the League. Matteo Salvini’s party is very popular among the rural electorate. If he runs, De Castro could secure votes from the same electorate for PD. This is why some in the Rome PD central evaluated the benefits from having De Castro on their list. He was asked to run, and he will. Good news for the Italian social-democrats and for Europe.