11:08 GMT09 May 2021
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    2018 General Election in Italy (26)

    The Italian general election, which this time is to combine a US-style first-past-the-post scheme with the proportional representation system better known in Europe, is in full swing; Sputnik talked to Luigi Marco Bassani, professor of politics at Milan University, about the possible outcomes of Sunday’s political event.

    Sputnik: So you think there’s likely to be a shift in Italy’s relations with Brussels? 

    Luigi Marco Bassani: This is what Brussels wants Italy to do – take all the immigrants they can and then they won’t be able to move anywhere, because as soon as they try to cross the border, they are sent back from Austria, they are sent back from France, no need to mention Switzerland, and so on.

    READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: The Winding Road to Rome: Italy Votes to Elect New Parliament

    The policy is quite simple: Brussels was telling the government: "You are gone. Gone with your debt. Borrow some more money  and plunge into debt as long as you take all these immigrants in."

    As you’ve seen, most of the immigrants were taken like 13, 20, 25 miles from the border of Libya. As soon as they left Libya, they were in Italian [waters] and taken by all these boats. The grand total, you’ve got to think about a country that had almost no immigrants or like 1 or 2 per cent until the 1990s, 1995-1996, and then in twenty years it went from 0 to 10 percent of the population.

    I’m not saying it’s a social problem in itself, but clearly it is creating a lot of strain on the population. What people can see is that all these immigrants are not supporting themselves. They are not working, there’s a big economic crisis, there’s [high] unemployment in Italy, and these people are here and they are paid through welfare or private charities, but they are not providing for themselves.

    Sputnik: Some experts say that Italian media were attempting to shift public attention away from crucial issues such as security and migration, which we’ve also been discussing at length, to more abstract political agendas during the election campaign. What are your thoughts on that?

    Luigi Marco Bassani: During the election campaign there were only promises, promises based on new debt, new public debt, and national debt, which is impossible to make [payments on]. It’s like the third largest on Earth.

    A lot of people say: Italy is not Greece. And it’s true: it’s not Greece, because there is Lombardy and there is Veneto. But besides the productive north, the west of Italy is [worse] than Greece, as far as production goes…so all these big issues like territory, the redistribution of money and so on – were even not talked about during the campaign. So, you are saying "abstract things" – actually "abstract promises."

    There’s a group — the Five-Star movement. There’s supposed to be an entire system, but all they do is promise even more money than the rest of the political parties. So, they are not exactly an entire system.

    They just promise big, like a basic income for everybody – 750 euros a month for every single person who is alive in this country. We are talking about things that are clearly impossible. It’s not only abstract.

    I read recently that during the campaign, the migrants were not taken in for a few weeks.

    They didn’t want people to talk too much about migration issues during the campaign – something which the center-right coalition, especially Salvini, was talking about, who was talking abstractly, but nothing about concrete issues that are going to affect this country.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    2018 General Election in Italy (26)


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