ECR Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto's full speech reads:
“On behalf of our group, I would also like to welcome you to this Parliament in a very complex and difficult time.
The call for unity that has been made by everyone, and by you in particular, is certainly necessary and it represents a strong point for the Western institutions in the context of the strong and clear condemnation of what is happening.
On the one hand there is a human tragedy, a disaster, together with a strong attack on the values of freedom, democracy and peace that do not deserve any kind of doubt or perplexity.
That is why we never had any doubts, as the group of conservatives, and also as a party of conservatives, in strongly supporting this line and this action.
I want to say this because this is the starting point for a reflection, a reflection that also develops at a national level, where there have been some hesitations, if I may.
Certainly not on our part, as we have given our full support to this direction with serious and responsible action.
But this is also an opportunity to reflect a little critically on the idea of being united, of looking to the future, without thinking about what happened in the past.
It is wrong because we would risk repeating the same mistakes, and so it is necessary, following your outline and your speech, to reflect on some essential points.
We are certainly not – to put it mildly – enthusiastic about the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which ended up being a mere self-celebration, just as we are also of the opinion that the calls that have been made on issues such as the need for a central role in the Mediterranean and in Africa clash with the reality that we have seen in recent days, months and years, with the ever-increasing presence of Russia, China and Turkey, thanks to embarrassments and mistakes that have been made in Europe.
It is equally important to reflect on the mistakes that led to a lack of independence on strategic issues that saw an increasingly relocated industrial policy due to the absence of autonomy in terms of energy, agriculture and food.
These are objective facts that cannot be ignored if we want to seriously and credibly look to the future. We must also do this because I believe it is essential to put in place a concrete strategy that also clarifies another misunderstanding: the issue of immigration.
Well, the narrative of the past few years has fallen apart, because we can now see that the countries indicated as being responsible for the failure to reach an agreement are the main countries that have opened their borders, their arms and their hearts to real immigration, made up of refugees, women and children fleeing war.
We have to make these considerations if we want to have a real analysis of the situation. We must also make two proposals, because we are not in the business of criticism for its own sake: we are capable and accustomed to making proposals.
You are very authoritative and credible in this forum, so we are asking you strongly – I am asking you as an MEP who is chairman of a Group, but I am also asking you as an Italian.
We are making two concrete proposals: the first is to take strong, concrete, strategic action, as you have said, to address the issue of sanctions, which must be supported by an adequate compensation fund that takes into account the needs and requirements of individual countries, from the point of view of energy but also from the point of view of exports, which is one of the fundamental aspects that could put to its knees a country like ours.
And secondly, in recent days and as part of the national political debate, Giorgia Meloni proposed the modification of the Recovery and Resilience Fund – an instrument that unfortunately, even though it has just started, is already old.
Article 21 of the Recovery and Resilience Fund provides for this. It provides that in extraordinary cases we can intervene to modify the organisation and the choices that have been made in this context. Well, an instrument provided for pandemic and economic recovery, and now war – what could be more extraordinary to try to find solutions and structurally modify to meet real needs?
It’s not a national issue, you mentioned as many others that Italy is the main beneficiary of these resources in Europe. And it is in this direction that we need a strong response, because the success or failure of the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan will be the success or failure of a whole strategy in this sense.
And since we are not used to ‘so much worse, so much better’, we strongly ask you to evaluate this proposal, in the interest not only of Italy, but also of the future prospects of young people, citizens and European companies.
2 December 2022
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