Thursday, 4 June 2009

The European Elections

I decided to do a rough translation of an article on the various parties and their manifestos in Il Messagero because it seemed like a good way to a) help me vote sensibly b) practise Italian and c) give you a window into Italian politics, should you want such a thing.

Here we vote on Saturday and Sunday. We're away for the weekend at a nunnery for a personal retreat, so we'll have to vote when we get back on Sunday.

If you want to ask any questions, do. I know that there are tons of typos - this does not concern me. I think it's pretty interesting to compare this with British politics.

Here it is:

Popolo della Libertà (People of Liberty): first objective: becoming the largest party within the European popular parties
The first objective of Berlusconi is to make the PdL the most numerous group of the PPE, thus the leading party, thereby conditioning the choices of [the European popular house?]. The PdL has undersigned the programme of the PPE, that, after unrestrained laissez faire, ending with the world finiancial crisis, is now staking everything on the “social market economy”. The financial markets must submit to fixed rules. Job creation is a priority, given that unemployment is on the increase, as well as investment in green technology and renewable and nuclear energy.
Then the struggle against illegal immigration, a common policy on asylum and the Blue Card system for immigrants. Pension reform and tax policies for families. Also a stronger EU that will renew its partnership with the USA, more control of world financial markets from the Monetary Fund and re-inforcement of the UN.

Partito Democratico (Democratic Party): Economic Emergency: supporting workers and businesses in crisis
The PD is relying heavily on social-economic themes. Modification of the stability pact (to remove investment and reserach expenses from the deficit), issuing of European public qualifications to develop infrastructures and a fund for supporting workers and firms struck by the international crisis. The development of social shock-absorbers, from a minimum income to support for low salaries.
Then the “green economy” following Obama, an obligatory Erasmus programme in the universities and achieving equality between men and women. Management of the immigration problem by the EU: struggle against illegal immigration, black-market work and human-trafficking, but also integration, common rules on asylum, and entrusting border control to the EU rather than single states. Co-operation against organised crime and defence of Schengen, creating a European police force.

Northern League: No to super-state Europe
less immigrants, more security

More than a programme, Carroccio proposes a manifesto against beaurocracy from Brussells. The league doesn't want a “continental super-state”. The alternative is that of a “Europe of the peoples” with a confederal model in which the member states maintain their unaltered sovereignty. The League's document recalls the battle for Europe's Christian roots: a separate chapter is dedicated to the refusal of Turkey's entry into the EU. The participation of Ankara “would make the idea of a Europe founded on common roots, which are Christian, collapse”. Fiscal federalism, defense of Malpensa as an international airport, defence of the family and no marriages except between a man and a woman. Also: regional autonomy in waste-management and re-introduction of customs duties to beat unfair competition from the far-east and elsewhere.

Unione di Centro (Union of the Centre): The family above everything
aids, relief and subsidiarity

The centrists of the UDC are relying heavily on the Europe of families. And they've put together a manifesto in which the defence of the family is the central nucleus: the family founded on marriage, as the Catholics consider it; family policies that aim to defeat poverty, without the redistribution of wealth as their goal, to be applied in terms of subsidiarity and not welfare, that don't regard solely welfare, but also tax relief, school, bioethics and employment. A fundamental principle is that a European citizen's capcity to contribute must be based on the size of the family in his care. Immigration also to be managed with a view to the family: “Illegal immigration and violence, exploitation and xenophobia – they are fought with family unity and Europe must take up the fight”.

Left and Liberty: Reduction of working hours. Yes to civil partnerships and gay marriages
Vendola and company are looking to the European socialy salary for the unemployed and also propose ther reduction of working hours and taxation of large estates, instability, reduction of the differences in EU payments. Renewable energy rather than nuclear, bio-construction, quality agriculture, consumer protection and struggle against the climate emergency. On civil rights, Left and Liberty wants a Europe that recognises the decisive role of the individual conscience in the great ethical questions: Yes to liberty of treatment, to the use of stem-cells, to assisted fertilisation, to civil unions and gay marriages. Equal opportunity and freedom for women and men. No to the Gelmini reform, quality public schools and universities financed by public money. Against armaments and in favour of disarmament.

PRC-PDCI: Minimum salary, private incomes to be taxed and dismissals blocked
Another Europe is possible is the title of the manifesto presented by the anticapitalist list formed by the PRC and PDCI. “We are opposed to a laissez faire, technocratic Europe”, it declares. The joint programme sustains that the workers mustn't pay for the crisis of capitalism. Therefore, a plan for full employment and a fund financed by the taxation of private incomes and financial speculation is necessary, as well as the blocking of dismissals and delocalisation. The firms that make use of public contributions can't dimiss workers or use the funds for relocating production. A European contract and minimum salary, a social income for the unemployed and an adequate pension. Among the proposals: public control of credit, nationalisation of the banks, closure of detention centres for immigrants, the dissolution of NATO. Renewable energy and no to nuclear.

Italia dei Valori (Italy of Values): More transparency and inelegibility for the condemned. European social pact
Italy of Values presents a 12-point programme. The party of Di Pietro intend to carry their flag for the defense of legality into Europe: transparency in European finance, inelegiblity for the condemned and European sentences to be respected within 60 days of their approval. The IdV says yes to the affermation of civil rights (in particular civil unions and living wills), and would like the obligation to study a second European language from infancy. On immigration it asks for the regulation of the flow of migrants on the basis of solidarity, of regular employment and of capacity for subsistence. Help to the unemployed, a European social pact for the ditrubution of aid and social shock-absorbers in relation to support capacity, to the nuclear family and to the possibility of relocation.

The list of Bonino: “The United States of Europe, immediately”. A vote against 'partyocracy'“United States of Europe, immediately. For a European homeland against the Europe of homelands”, the slogan of the Bonino-Pannella list and the most European of all. The exact opposite of that procliamed by Bossi's League, that is the desire to have a strong, united Europe guiding us, overcoming selfishness and national myopia. One of the strongest slogans exclaims: “For the Liberation from 60 years of 'partyocracy' Let us call together the Italians for the great 'American' reform, liberal and federalist, lay and non-violent, for a new governing class, an alternative to the one we have, for an open society like the one proposed by our referendums, often approved by the overwhelming majority of the Italian people, but then betrayed by 'partyocracy'”. The radicals denounce: “Not only democratic elections” undermined by disinformation and “violation of legality”.