The Italian government is likely to introduce a new decreto legge (a government’s led bill immediately effective, which has to be approved and turned actually into law by a Parliament’s vote in the next 60 days) to call for the return of money held by Italian citizens in foreign banks. This new action by Silvio Berlusconi’s government comes at the start of the new European Parliament (EP), with the consequent calendars of institutional and political steps. First of all, the appointment of the new European Commission (EC), and the drawing of the new 5-year guidelines both the EP and the EC will be called on to follow and implement. What is the link between a Member State’s will to retrieve money its citizens unlawfully(?) retain in foreign countries, and the new European Union institutions? What importance might have, such an action by a Member State, for Europe?
Italy’s decreto legge (if approved, but there is little doubt, given the current international and national situation and feelings) falls into the more general action at an international level against bank deposits in the so-called off-shore bank accounts.
Looking at the list of foreign countries the Italian government is after in its decreto legge, if you expect to fnd the more traditional and known Caribbean islands – like Barbados, Jamaca, the Bahamas -, or Pacific Ocean microstates – Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu -, all places known for their unclear financial activities, you’d be right out of target. These countries might well be on the list, but Rome’s government and bureaucracy are actually after other countries. Here is what our point comes.
Switzerland is top of the list. Traditionally, the Confederation has been for decades the home Italian money abroad. No surprise it is on first position. The list includes other countries like the USA, Monaco and Liechtenstein. These two are no surprise as well. In the Top 10 rankings of this special list, though, we find Luxemburg, France, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. These are the countries Italy will concentrate its actions on.
A question comes to my mind: aren’t Luxemburg, France, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands European Union Member States, just alike Italy? Why is the European Parliament, and the Commission with it, accepting a Member State government looks at othe rMember States as enemies? Shouldn’t it be time the EP and the European Commission started calling – and forcing, if necessary – for a common vision?
If we are supposed to be part of a united Europe, then it should be no issue where the hell I take my money to. I might earn them in Italy and send them to France, of Finland, or Latvia or wherever I find it is more useful for my own needs. And there should be no right to call on me to justify why prefer to have my money in one place or another. As long as I keep within the EU’s borders, that is good.
Actions like Italy’s decreto legge are just which hunts, going against the interests ot the European Union institutions – that is, going further on the way of a really unified Europe – and of its citizens. As an EU national, I want to be free to do my own will in any of the 27 Member States, no matter what.
It might sound pretestous, but go back for a moment to the recent June 4-9 EP elections. Less than half (43%) the EU citizens voted. The lowest percentage ever, in 30 years. Why is that? Because more than half the EU citizens feel the EU institutions, all of them without difference, as something strange, something far away from their oridnary people’s lives. They do not feel Europeans.
Problem is, while goods and services are able to move from country to country all across the EU, people are not. Try moving within the EU just the same way you would within your own country: unless you are poor, very low class, crime prone, that is very difficult, if not impossible.
If the European Union wants to have any chance to survive past the next generation – I mean, past the time when today’s 18-25 year olds will come to power – it should invest heavily in building a common European Union feeling, one that encompasses current nationalisms.
Ensuring each and every EU citizen is free to move himself or his belongings all over the EU territory, no matter Member States boundaries, is basic to such feeling.
That is the main task for the new European Parliament and the new European Commission.