Lorenzo Marsili

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European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen at a meeting on EU enlargement in Brussels, Belgium, 8 November 2023. Photograph: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Imagine an Italian, a Ukrainian and a Briton having a meal in Berlin. They can all order à la carte in the restaurant, yet only the Italian can remain in Germany indefinitely without a visa, vote for Berlin’s mayor in elections or receive full German healthcare. While the three friends may all be European, only the Italian is a European citizen, giving them rights and benefits denied to the other two.

Here is an idea: could European citizenship be extended to citizens of countries that are not part of the European Union?

European citizenship, granted automatically to anyone with the nationality of an EU country, is additional and parallel to national citizenship.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘This year’s Biennale present the joyous, hopeful face of a fragmenting world.’ The installation Ghebbi by AD-WO. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, titled Laboratory for the Future, was inaugurated on the same day that the leaders of the G7 industrialised nations met in Hiroshima. As different as these events appeared, both signalled the end of globalisation. Both also displayed the promise and perils of a fragmenting world.

Of all the arts, architecture is the most globally homogenising. Erecting tropical copycats of Paris and London was a staple of European colonial policy. Today, the same glass-and-steel tower blocks dot interchangeable financial capitals the world over.

But the 2023 Biennale’s curator, the Ghanaian-Scottish architect Lesley Lokko, is using international architecture’s most influential event to critically reassess that one-world narrative.…  Seguir leyendo »

Italian authorities at the scene of the shipwreck in Steccato di Cutro, Calabria, on 26 February 2023. Photograph: Alessandro Serranò/AGF/REX/Shutterstock

The photograph of the body of two-year-old Alan Kurdi lying on Turkish shores made headlines in 2015. “Never again”, cried an outraged international press, after Kurdi and his Syrian family drowned attempting to reach safety in Europe.

The latest tragedy in the Mediterranean, claiming the lives of at least 62 individuals, including children, is a stark reminder that nothing has changed. Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, expressed “deep sorrow”. The Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, warned that the tragedy should leave “no one indifferent” and appealed to the European Union. The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, promised to “redouble the efforts”.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘The administration of Joe Biden has now passed the world’s most generous package of climate incentives.’ Photograph: Héctor Vivas/Getty Images

European governments have for many years basked in a sense of climate superiority over the US. We had the most ambitious climate goals; we were the constructive actor at Cop conferences; we had carbon-pricing mechanisms; and since 1990, we have reduced emissions by 28% against just 2% in the US. The US, by contrast, had climate-denying Republicans.

The Biden administration now has the world’s most generous package of climate incentives – a $370bn green subsidy package, which goes by the misnomer Inflation Reduction Act. But instead of celebrating the US handouts and tax breaks for investment in such things as electric vehicles and solar panels, many European governments are furious.…  Seguir leyendo »

The European Political Community was devised by the French president, Emmanuel Macron. The UK’s prime minister, Liz Truss, will be attending. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine it’s 2030. You can freely reside in and seek employment across the UK, the EU, Ukraine, Turkey, the western Balkans and a handful of other flourishing democracies. You cross open borders on integrated high-speed rail connections, powered by jointly financed green hydrogen infrastructure and integrated energy grids.

You feel secure as these countries ensure equitable supplies of life-saving vaccines and maintain a joint fast-response taskforce for climate disasters.

As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, this sounds like science fiction. But it is a real prospect if the European Political Community – a new organisation that will be launched in Prague on 6 October – succeeds.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Analysts are busy parsing Meloni’s statements to determine if she is a fascist, a neo-fascist or a post-fascist.’ Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Italy, wrote the situationist philosopher Guy Debord in 1968, “sums up the social contradictions of the entire world”. As such, it was a “laboratory for international counter-revolution”.

Political analysts the world over are now busy parsing Giorgia Meloni’s statements to determine if she is a fascist, a neofascist or a post-fascist. Why, they ask, are Italians seemingly willing to consider a return to the politics of their country’s darkest hour?

But is Italy really dealing with the resurrection of its fascist past? And, more important, is Italy a laboratory whose experiment the rest of the world could eventually follow? The answers, respectively, are: no and (therefore) yes.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Mario Draghi’s international prestige is no excuse for ignoring the shortfalls of his technocratic approach.’ Photograph: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

In a summer overshadowed by war in Europe, a pandemic, an energy and cost of living crisis and climate chaos, Italy has decided to follow the UK and trigger a government collapse.

Mario Draghi, the internationally admired former head of the European Central Bank, was never elected but was called upon in 2021 to lead a temporary government of national unity. That unity ended last week.

Other European leaders are dismayed; many Italians are incredulous. The Draghi cabinet achieved consistently high approval ratings. And while Britain at least looks destined for a modicum of continuity as it switches Conservative leaders, Italy after a year and a half of apparent political stability is now heading for a September election where hard-right parties including the post-fascist Brothers of Italy party top the polls.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Mario Draghi He is a member of no party but his cabinet includes a staggering number of politicians and political shades.’ Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AP

“Would it not be simpler for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?” Bertolt Brecht’s line is often quoted after dubious upsets in the democratic process – such as the imposition of Mario Monti’s austerity administration in Italy in 2011, or the crushing of Syriza’s aspirations in Greece in 2015. And yet, Mario Draghi’s top-down appointment as Italy’s new prime minister tells a different story, one that doubles as a cautionary tale for the rest of Europe.

A recent survey shows that 85% of Italians approve of the former European Central Bank chief and establishment prodigy running the government following the collapse of Giuseppe Conte’s administration.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Europe today needs a second peaceful revolution after the one of 1989.’ The Berlin Wall comes down. Photograph: Herbert Knosowski/Reuters

In 1933, the year of the Nazi takeover, the French writer Julien Benda wrote his Discourse to the European Nation, urging Europeans to come together around their shared universalist values and against the rising monsters of nationalism. As Europe marched towards the murder of its soul and its people, many dared to dream the impossible.

Benda was not alone. The Ventotene manifesto, one of the founding texts of European federalism, was drafted in 1941. And it was against the background of a continent in ruins that Churchill spoke of a “United States of Europe” in 1946. The rebirth of Europe would have been unthinkable if the flame of European unity had not been kept alive throughout the continent’s darkest hour.…  Seguir leyendo »