“The flows from the southern shore of the Mediterranean are destined to swell in an impressive way, they will be unstoppable and uncontrollable trends, countries with very young populations who will naturally move towards the city lights if we don’t turn those lights on in them…”. Bettino Craxi saw it this way already in the 1990s. The leader of the PSI, then Prime Minister, recalled several times the scenarios that would change in the Mediterranean, today more than ever those lights he spoke of are those of the cities of our country, starting from those of Lampedusa, stormed by landings endless. An awareness, that of the secretary of the PSI which started from the observation that “Italy is a nation immersed up to its neck in the Mediterranean, indeed we are the Euro-Mediterranean nation”.
Craxi was also a statesman for the solutions he proposed to a problem that was still in its initial phase in those years (“turn on the lights in those cities”, was the request to contribute to the development of the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean). He tried several times to explain how the issue should be addressed with a united Europe, which however sometimes struggled to provide answers. “Italy needs Europe and Europe needs Italy”, he often recalled. “The new Europe cannot just be the result of a mere institutional engineering operation”, was his concern. “We hope that we can have a European foreign policy, a role for Europe in the world community, which has an impact, an influence and an effective and unequivocal capacity to intervene on open issues”.
A careful eye on European dynamics, as a convinced but “concerned” pro-European, with the underlying idea of also defending national interests: “We must know that on the southern shore of the Mediterranean these populations are subject to a rate of demographic increase”, he warned again by appealing to the European Union.