Miscellaneous current issues in Italy

Immigration: At the beginning of 2010, an impressive social uprising took place in southern Italy, involving numerous African crop-pickers and the Italian police. Clashes lasted several days, and the news was reported on all national media.11Corriere della Sera: Rosarno, altri quattro immigrati feriti. Spari e scontri in strada: è battaglia, 8 January 2010, available at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_gennaio_08/rosarno-scontri-maroni_cef157a6-fc32-11de-98e4-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010). This is just one episode which well describes the Italian concern over illegal immigration and its connection with crime. Public opinion seems increasingly worried about the lack of public order, sometimes even in big cities, where closed racial neighbourhoods have emerged in the last decade.

Corruption: The past six months have seen a series of political scandals, connected in various ways to corruption and the illegal use of public money.22Corriere della Sera: L’appartamento di Scajola e le falle nella tesi del ministro, 3 May 2010, available at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_maggio_03/appartamento-scajola-sarzanini_6e658120-5685-11df-ae23-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010). Both sides of the Italian political establishment seem to be involved in the events, leaving a deep sense of dissatisfaction in the national public opinion towards politicians in general.

Afghanistan: Following the arrest in Afghanistan of three Italian aid workers of Emergency, a charity organisation funded by Gino Strada, accused of supporting a plot to assassinate the Governor of the Helmand province, a tense debate emerged in the Italian press and political establishment.33Natalino Ronzitti: L’Italia in Afghanistan dopo il caso Emergency, AffarInternazionali, 19 April 2010, available at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1438 (last access: 1 July 2010). The episode obtained large coverage in TV shows and parliamentary auditions, even after the release of the three prisoners.44Unità: Frattini in Parlamento ‘Uno dei tre volontari forse libero’, 14 April 2010, available at: http://www.unita.it/news/97381/frattini_in_parlamento_uno_dei_tre_volontari_forse_libero (last access: 1 July 2010).

Regional Elections: With thirteen out of twenty regions involved in the vote, Italy registered a low turnout (64 percent) in the regional elections held on 28 and 29 March 2010. Although at the centre of a series of scandals and political controversies, the centre-right party, headed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, managed to snatch four regions away from the centre-left and emerged as the main winner. The abstention rate was the highest of the last 15 years.55La Repubblica: Elezioni Regionali, 28-29 March 2010, available at: http://www.repubblica.it/static/speciale/2010/elezioni/regionali/index.html (last access: 1 July 2010).

Thailand: In recent weeks, the unstable political situation in Thailand has received much attention by the Italian press. Although no specific political comments have been made on the topic, the public opinion follows the evolution of the clashes between demonstrators and the local government with interest.66Corriere della Sera: Thailandia, 20 vittime negli scontri, 11 April 2010, available at: http://www.corriere.it/esteri/10_aprile_11/thailandia-scontri-vittime-camicie-rosse_fdb7b568-4547-11df-93de-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).

    Footnotes

  • 1Corriere della Sera: Rosarno, altri quattro immigrati feriti. Spari e scontri in strada: è battaglia, 8 January 2010, available at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_gennaio_08/rosarno-scontri-maroni_cef157a6-fc32-11de-98e4-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 2Corriere della Sera: L’appartamento di Scajola e le falle nella tesi del ministro, 3 May 2010, available at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_maggio_03/appartamento-scajola-sarzanini_6e658120-5685-11df-ae23-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 3Natalino Ronzitti: L’Italia in Afghanistan dopo il caso Emergency, AffarInternazionali, 19 April 2010, available at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1438 (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 4Unità: Frattini in Parlamento ‘Uno dei tre volontari forse libero’, 14 April 2010, available at: http://www.unita.it/news/97381/frattini_in_parlamento_uno_dei_tre_volontari_forse_libero (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 5La Repubblica: Elezioni Regionali, 28-29 March 2010, available at: http://www.repubblica.it/static/speciale/2010/elezioni/regionali/index.html (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 6Corriere della Sera: Thailandia, 20 vittime negli scontri, 11 April 2010, available at: http://www.corriere.it/esteri/10_aprile_11/thailandia-scontri-vittime-camicie-rosse_fdb7b568-4547-11df-93de-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).

The reports focus on a reporting period from December 2009 until May 2010. This survey was conducted on the basis of a questionnaire that has been elaborated in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were delivered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives significant funding from the Otto Wolff-Foundation, Cologne, in the framework of the ‘Dialog Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and financial support from the European Commission. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.