A “fascist-rock” ambassador and a plan for Africa: news from Italy

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Although mired in the blunders of her government, Giorgia Meloni has just embarked on exploits that border on recklessness. Before examining them, it is good to mention a few anecdotes from Italian political life which give an idea of ​​the air we breathe on the other side of the Alps.

Let us first mention Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Agriculture and, above all, brother-in-law of Meloni, already known to our readers. A few weeks ago, questioned by a malicious journalist, the minister admitted that he had indeed made a “small reinforcement” to his hair, Berlusconi 2012 style. With his new hair, the minister made an appearance a few days later at Cape Canaveral: the rocket was launched there which took the Ax-3 spacecraft into space, whose crew included an Italian. The minister, on task, was there to emphasize that pasta is finally included in the astronauts’ menu. “Italian quality in space!” » he proudly proclaimed. A few days later, while peasants threatened, as in France, to blockade the capital, Lollobrigida absolved himself of any responsibility for the crisis by attributing it to “certain leftists and journalists”raised in « champagne »who would never have had the opportunity to feel “the smell of manure”.

Let us also cite the Minister of Education, Giuseppe Valditara, who, last year, pulled out of his hat the “Made in Italy high school” (sic), a new sector intended to train young people in the crafts of « nation » (the term “country” is out of favor). The poor man suffered a bitter disappointment: his formula, for the moment optional, was only chosen by four establishments out of ten. According to him, this is a satisfactory result. But everyone was able to see the extent of the fiasco.

In the midst of all this, the ballet of nominations continues. Heir to a dynasty of diplomats, Mario Vattani was promoted to ambassador after being appointed commissioner of Expo 2025 in Osaka (360,000 euros per year). Forgotten, the accident which, in 2011, had stopped his career, leaving him with the dishonorable nickname of “fascist-rock consul”. At the time, the media caught him performing as the leader of a group « facho-rock » at a party for CasaPound, a neo-Nazi organization. Giorgia cleared him.

Another croquignolesque appointment: Sangiuliano’s musical advisor, the conductor Beatrice Venezi, who has never hidden her sympathies for the extreme right and whose reputation is mainly due to her intention to call herself “conductor” (director) in the masculine form, was brutally rejected by the Palermo symphony orchestra. Musicians argued that she didn’t know how to conduct. To avoid being disturbed by the incongruous movements of their wand, they play with their heads tilted…

The appointment of the director of the Rome theater, one of the most important in the country, also caused some commotion. Although not unworthy, the administrator in place was abruptly dismissed, following a meeting marred by irregularities. A demonstration bringing together some of the best-known figures of Italian entertainment took place for days in front of the establishment. For now, the file remains open. There is talk of creating a diarchy: a director appointed by the capital (whose mayor belongs to the Democratic Party), another by the tireless Gennaro Sangiuliano, Minister of Culture…

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On the side of public television (RAI), watched less and less, things are not much better. On January 11, the TG1 newspaper (the most followed) reported on a commemorative march of the youth movement of Fratelli d’Italia. The journalist presented her as a “tribute to those who gave their lives for Italy, from the Risorgimento to the victims of the Years of Lead, including the victims of terror and the patriots of the great wars”, ignoring the deaths of the Resistance against fascism. In the same spirit of right-wing patriotism, the RAI presented in the first part of the evening an incongruous documentary on the Frecce Tricolori, the aerobatic squadron of the air force, and broadcast a series on Goffredo Mameli (1827-1849 ), the author of the verses of the national anthem. Furthermore, after the fiasco of the talk show led by ex-Berlusconian minister Nunzia De Girolamo (her first guest was… her husband), RAI proposed the actor Luca Barbareschi, also a right-wing parliamentarian in the 2010s , to take up the torch.

Disclosure of official secrets and trafficking of works

Anxious to appear “serious” and above the fray, Meloni pretends to ignore what is happening in the lower levels of his government. She did not find much to say about the cases of Daniela Santanchè (Minister of Tourism), who is the subject of an investigation into irregularities in the management of her companies, of Andrea Delmastro (Secretary of State to Justice), who is indicted for disclosure of official secrets, and Vittorio Sgarbi (another Secretary of State), polemicist constantly mixing art and vulgarity, arrested for alleged trafficking in works of art.

Meloni is instead involved in three cases through which she intends to make history. The first is the bill on “differentiated regional autonomy”, already approved in the Senate. It would give very broad prerogatives to the regions of northern Italy (administered by the League) and Emilia-Romagna (PD), which would make them de facto independent republics. But that is not enough. Meloni wants to pass his project of “ premiered », an amendment to the Constitution which would allow the President of the Council to be elected by direct universal suffrage, considerably reducing the powers of the Head of State.

Launched at the end of January, the “Mattei plan” seems to have less chance of success. This is a collaborative project with several African countries, supported by a future “African Development Bank” financed by Italy (5.5 billion, origin still undefined), the United Arab Emirates and probably the ‘Saudi Arabia. The very title of this plan does not bode well: it refers to Enrico Mattei (1906-1962), the first Italian to exploit African oil reserves, who died mysteriously in an air accident.

> Find all the Italian chronicles here

On January 28, before twenty-five African leaders summoned to Rome, Meloni read his “design for Africa”. Each State is entrusted with a mission: electrification, education, etc. It is striking to see with what temerity a financially fragile country like Italy wants to be the interlocutor of an immense continent (with which it has not quite resolved its colonial past). We will therefore not be surprised by the reaction of Moussa Faki, president of the African Union Commission: “We would have liked to be consulted beforehand,” he said, adding that Africa must have “the freedom to freely choose one’s allies, without having to align with one bloc rather than another, without imposing anything and without having anything imposed on oneself”.

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