Rome View: Il punto di vista di Roma nel Blog di ECFR

La direttrice di ECFR Roma, Silvia Francescon, contribusice regolarmente al BLOG di ECFR, Whose world Order?

Qua di seguito riportiamo i primi due articoli (in lingua inglese). In futuro, aggiorneremo puntualmente questo sito con i post di Roma View, tradotti in italiano!

Berlusconi’s way to deal with conferences


Prime minister Berlusconi does not hold press conferences at the end of European Council Meetings. We all know that by now. But the news is that this time he was the only leader who cancelled his press conference at the end of the G20 Summit in Seoul.

This may be quite a sensible move on his part, given the current situation he his facing in Italy.

I have personally assisted several press conferences in the margins of the G8 or G20 in my former job as an Italian advisor, and unfortunately I have to say that too many times journalists missed the opportunity to ask questions related to the real results of these Summits. Too many questions dwelled on the garbage piling up in the streets of Naples, on internal politics, on potential scandals. Very little about what Italy and the G8 or G20 are doing to combat the economic crisis, poverty in the world or climate change.

Considering the current situation in Italy, I can bet it would have happened in Seoul too.

However, Italian public opinion would benefit greatly from a break from this relentless gossip and instead was fed with something more substantive – for instance information on the decisions taken at the G20; on what Berlusconi discussed with Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy at the margins of the Summit; and, even most importantly, on anything Berlusconi might have discussed with Dmitri Medvedev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We assume energy, we wonder security, we don’t know in which kind of format: an informal Italy- Russia- Turkey trialogue?

It would be interesting to know. It would also be interesting to know if Mr Berlusconi embraces the idea of a multipolar Europe (which risks making disorder a reality), or if instead he believes that the accession of Turkey to Europe is a priority – a key interest of the European Union – and if he is ready to take the lead in the EU to make it a reality, starting with the opening of the energy chapter, rather than by enhancing the bilateral attitude of having a privileged partnership.

This is why I think such a trialogue should be rather seen as an opportunity to engage in a much needed debate about Europe, Russia and Turkey’s place in Europe.

So far we only know that Silvio Berlusconi, Dmitri Medvedev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are good friends. We are still waiting to know what the three of them said to each other and if for Mr Berlusconi the accession of Turkey to the EU is considered a strategic choice, beyond words and beyond trialogues. We want the prime minister to hold a proper press conference, and we need the Italian media to take the opportunity seriously.

Double standars on Human Rights day


On Friday, 10th December, the world celebrated Human Rights Day. Friday was also the day when China, Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Cuba and Morocco failed to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the day of an empty chair in Oslo that reminded us of all the political prisoners around the world.

On 10th December each year, we, in the Western world, usually recall the importance of protecting human rights. However, this year’s 10th December was different. Last Friday was not only the day when violations of basic human rights were remembered; on Friday, we discovered a very real double standard in the application of human rights. On Friday, we discovered that the Emperor is naked.

On Friday, Western ministries of foreign affairs celebrated Mr Assange’s imprisonment. Ironically and paradoxically, Mr Putin told Western countries how undemocratic it is to put a man in jail for promoting freedom of information and how hypocritical the Western world is.

As the historical advocate for human rights, Europe has to change its approach dramatically. The era of the “I teach, you learn” is over. It is difficult to explain to the rest of the world why it is that Europe places strong conditionalities to become a member of the EU club, but once you are in you can do whatever you want.

The values of democracy, open society and respect for human rights are intrinsically connected to transparency, the rule of law and the freedom of information. This has to be true in the so-called developing world as well as in the developed Western world.





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