In time of Fascism Italians who didn’t think like the fascists were persecuted. In some case they were forced to drink pure olive oil, in other cases they couldn’t obtain a job, in other more extreme cases internment was in use during Fascism. In today’s times there are Italians acting in way that recalls the darkest pages of the Italian history. In the concrete case, a politician from The League intimidated a press officer of the European Parliament representation in Rome, causing outrage in Brussels.
It all happened on twitter. First, the official account of the Italian office of the European Parliament, posted an extract of the last Eurobarometer survey. It highlighted that the single currency is considered as a good thing by a majority of the Italians (65%), a figure confirmed in the final data (63%). At this point a Twitter conversation started. It is difficult to find a definition
Italian MP threated to fire EU official
Claudio Borghi, member of the House of Representative of the Italian Parliament and president of the Budget committee, reacted in very unequivocal manner. “You will be wiped out. Prepare your boxes”, he tweeted. Borghi is Lega’s economic spokesman and a prominent voice within the party against the single currency.
Sarete spazzati via… preparate le scatole di cartone.— Claudio Borghi A. (@borghi_claudio) March 18, 2019
This prompted the person managing the account of the European Parliament to reply.
This person is Maurizio Molinari, a former free-lance journalist. He was based in Brussels until July 2015, when after having won a concours for the post in the EU institution, he moved to Rome, where he works with the representation of the European Parliament as press officer.
Borghi posted a tweet by Molinari’s private account, from 2013, when he worked as journalist. At that time Maurizio was still free to express his personal opinion about politics. Borghi however didn’t like a tweet about the Five Stars Movement, now in ruling coalition with the League. So Borghi threated to fire Molinari. “We will do what we can in order to remove a person who is inadequate for the place he holds”.
Scusi @maurimol79 a che titolo un "responsabile media del parlamento europeo" parla così del M5S, partito di magg. relativa in Italia? Screenshottate tutto, faremo il possibile per rimuovere una persona evidentemente inadeguata per il ruolo che ricopre— Claudio Borghi A. (@borghi_claudio) March 18, 2019
The president of the European Parliament had to intervene. On his personal twitter account, Antonio Tajani took position against any kind of pressure exerted on a person working for the European Parliament. It is not the business of Italian politicians, no matter how important, to threaten to remove a person working for the EU institution just because they don’t like the news or opinions expressed, he wrote.
.@maurimol79 è un funzionario del @Europarl_IT e non tocca a sia pur importanti politici italiani minacciare la sua rimozione per aver dato notizie o aver espresso opinioni a loro non gradite. Difendo l’autonomia della Istituzione che presiedo e respingo con forza ogni minaccia.— Antonio Tajani (@Antonio_Tajani) March 19, 2019
A clear reference to Fascism and its methods were made by David Sassoli. The vice president of the European Parliament denounced what he called “a vulgar and militant assault” by Borghi. “The European Parliament is neither property of Borghi nor a dependence of The League. The European Parliament belongs to all European citizens, who elect their representatives through vote”. Then Sassoli said “no to proscription lists”.
The League is not fascism, but has fascists
Perhaps the League is not the new fascism, but undoubtedly some politicians make proof of fascist-like behavior: lack of respect for the opponents, for minorities, for people with different opinions, threats, intimidation. What is worrying is that some of these people claim to be fascist. It happened in Basilicata, in the south of Italy, where the candidate of the League, Gerarda Russo, was accused by an audience to be fascist. “If fighting for the people means to be a fascist, then yes!, I am fascist”, she replied.
In a normal country with a fascist past and anti-fascist legislation, nobody would publicly speak like this. But here we talk about Italy, which is not a normal place any longer.