Bad weather, Follini: “Think about a better state-territory balance”

“The tragic flood of recent days should lead the political class to think at least one meter above its hectic daily life”

“The tragic flood of recent days should induce the political class to think at least one meter above its daily hectic life. Think precisely about the climate emergency, a truly epochal (and global) issue. And maybe dedicate some more reasoning also to the the need to set up a civil service that can offer a broader framework to the generosity of so many young people that we have seen engaged in bringing their aid in recent days.All issues that do not deserve to drown in the quagmire of petty controversies that we have not managed even in recent days to spare us.

But perhaps there is one more topic that deserves to be revisited at this point. And that is that of a better balance between the State, regions and local communities. Argument that crosses the troubled path of that project of differentiated autonomy that Minister Calderoli and the Northern League like so much and seem to like equally little by the rest of the government majority – not to mention the opposition.

The fact is that when nature devastates territories, one should ask oneself what is the best way to organize those territories. How much they have to do on their own and how much they have to depend on the rest of the country. How much energy and environmental policies belong to the local dimension and how much to the national dimension. In a word, what is the design that connects our communities making them a country, or nation if you prefer.

Up to now the argument has been developed by each according to their own very particular electoral advantage. Thus, the center-left at the beginning of the century modified the fifth title of the Constitution by equating the state and the autonomies in a vain attempt to chase Bossi’s League on its own turf. The centre-right went further by calling an unfortunate referendum on “devolution”, a slogan destined to disappear in the space of a few months. And still today we are witnessing the drum roll of Salvini’s army which claims differentiated autonomy to honor an ancient Northern League promise; to the counterpoint of the centre-left which opposes it with all its strength; to the slightly embarrassed silence of the other majority shareholders; and even to the perplexed muttering of the offices of Palazzo Madama who are giving away Calderoli’s project. Not to mention the regions in no particular order, from north to south.

But the real issue is not the project itself. It’s our idea. In other words, it is a matter of deciding what country we intend to be, and how we plan to articulate ourselves between the local, the national and the global. Since it is evident that we cannot develop and stretch to the extreme all, absolutely all, the powers that must give meaning to that articulation. In fact, if everyone’s powers continue to grow out of all proportion, a certain disorder can only arise. Which is precisely the situation in which we are coming to find ourselves.

Now, it makes sense to focus on the state and trust that centralism will still deploy its resources. It makes sense to focus on the regions and entrust them with more extensive skills and money to be weighed perhaps with a little more care. It makes sense to restore the provinces and give them the onerous privilege of being elected by the citizens – as was the case in the past. And finally, it makes sense to bet on the municipalities, on that ancient municipal root which made Italy a “country of villages” so to speak. But it makes no sense to delude ourselves that we can do all these things together, piling them up one on top of the other with the illusion that sooner or later unsustainable costs and even more inextricable confusions will not arise.

It’s not about playing one territory against another. Also because when tragedy strikes one then realizes that no one is self-sufficient, and that a more generous collaboration between the various decision-making levels needs to work. But precisely for this reason it would be time to try to put our priorities in order. And seize all the opportunities that life offers us to give a more coherent sense even to the articulation of our very complicated state.

(by Marco Follini)