November 8, 2012


Adapted by Rodney Atkinson from German Foreign Policy 02.11.2012

Continuing anti German protests in Italy have led German policy experts to comment that there is in Italy a "failure to accept the positive role which a united Germany could play in Europe" (To most Europeans outside Germany such a comment would be extremely amusing) and that "old slogans aimed at Germany's presumed hegemony have been dragged out of the attic".

Mass demonstrations in Rome against the German imposed austerity (mirrored of course in Spain, France, Greece and Portugal) are just the latest example of long held Italian objections to German dominance in the EU. While many Italian financial concerns have been very helpful in helping Germany to a strong position in Italian industry that has of course caused popular resentment. This analysis comes from The German Institute for Foreign Policy (DGAP) which published a paper by Frederico Niglia of St John's University in Rome "Past and prejudice in the Italian image of Germany".

The financial tensions caused by the Euro and the removal by the EU of democratic proceses in Italy have led to the revival of old sores like the massacres of Italians by German Nazis during the war - made worse as Germany has fended off legal actions (Like the murder of 100 civilians in Sant' Anna die Stazzema on 8th August 1944.)

Post war economic cooperation between Italy and Germany was soon eclipsed by the fear that Germany was just too big to play a modest role in Europe and the fear of German hegemony was common not just among the populace but among the political and economic Italian elites. And from the early 1990s (Maastricht!) Germany was "free of its constraints" and a corporatist clique in Italy cooperated with Germany to push through EU treaties which compromised Italian democracy and promoted German power. This is of course exactly what happened in Britain and elsewhere.

Maastricht's European Economic and Monetary Union was seen by Italians as a "typical German product", writes Niglia, which promoted German power without any consideration of other countries. This had turned especially left wing movements against the people and imposed massive costs on industry and workers and Italian economic influence had been replaced by German interests in for instance the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

This abandonment by the pseudo intellectual left of the working class all over the European Union led of course to the rise of the BNP in Britain and its equivalents in other EU countries. The Conservative Right in Britain also lost its traditional patriotic working class support, especially under the eruofanatic Edward Heath, a policy continued by the Eton educated appeaeer of EU power, David Cameron. The right moved left and the left moved right and destroyed the entire election process since there was no democratic choice possible between genuine alternatives.

This growing economic weakness of Italy, writes Niglia, led also to political sidelining as when Italy was excluded from the 2006 group of countries negotiating with Iran despite Italy being Tehran's biggest trading partner. More recently the EU appointed the unelected Mario Monti who is seen as a German placeman, overriding Italian democracy. Germany is seen by most Italians as the cause of the economic woes and political failure and as dictating economic austerity to prop up their own currency - the "German Euro".

From 1998 to 2009 (roughly in the ten years after the launch of the Euro) the German export surplus with Italy rose by 543%. 30% of Italian inward investment came from Germany from which Germany earned 14 billion Euros in 2010 and 2011.

A similar process has crippled many other EU countries and now threatens even Germany itself since, having exported so much to countries now bankrupted by the Euro, it cannot rely on being paid and German banks and businesses are exposed to billions of Euros in liabilities. Italy is just one of many victims of the economic and financial chaos caused by the Euro and the political and social disaster caused by the European Union.