I don’t know what will be contained within the speech that the Italian Prime Minister will deliver this afternoon, to open the Italian Semester.
Nonetheless, I can share some ideas about what I would like to find within that speech.
A first step, would be taking for granted that the European Union is entering a new phase, where we cannot continue to be subject to the blackmail from national interests, if we want the EU to be able to be more than just a collection of what the national short-term interests leave to be shared.
A second step, would be to stop talking about 500 million consumers: we are 500 million citizens, and maybe we would like to be treated as such- less watchdogs, more participation in choices.
A third step, would be to acknowledge that most Member States had their own “small minds” moment in the past, notably in considering the management of our international engagements, and we cannot just simply fund decisions made by others- be it in international interventions, military or humanitarian, or trade and finance choices.
A fourth step, would be to start creating a space for European Citizenship, not just as an addendum to a national citizenship, but as something that delivers specific rights and duties that make sense only if you think about the larger EU as a single entity- and this would require thinking about a shared learning curriculum and career path within the civil service, building on the French-German experiments in bureaucracy, joint military activities, and so on.
Alternative? To keep tinkering, and considering 500 million citizens as if they were just to be called upon to share a burden, not a positive vision.
Visionary? No, pragmatist- how can you motivate people and businesses, if whatever you say is drowned within a cacophony of minutiae, as it was with the European Constitution?
How do you start? With small things- one step at a time, also if you need a larger dream that can serve as a litmus test for whatever small step will be taken.
And now… I look forward to what I will actually read tomorrow 🙂
Have a nice day!