A major reason for the conflict between Europe and Italy is the argument over Italy’s deficit. As Carlo Mazzaferro writes, the argument revolves around the question as to ‘who will pay the pensions of today’s youth’. Tackling Italy’s tax system is one answer, suggests Vincenzo Visco, but Italian politicians continue to fight shy of the consequences: ‘the tax evaders’ faction has many millions of votes.’
The Lega Nord is determined to lower unemployment by reducing the cost of working, for instance through a flat tax. As Matteo Jessoula, Marcello Natili and Emmanuele Pavolini argue, the focus on welfare for Italians only, particularly pensions, together with vague income generation plans, is likely to increase the public debt.
Alessandro Cavalli sees German-style civic education as a way of encouraging better engagement with these complex problems. He draws three lessons: that people are not naturally democratic but can be educated to be so; that this can only happen if education faces the hard questions that divide people; and that arguments must be based in fact.
The European project was ‘founded in reason’ and continues to be based on fundamental principles and arguments, writes Roberta De Montecelli. The challenge is to make democracy a virtuous circle in which citizens develop and flourish. ‘No democracy can maintain itself for long when the mechanism that processes the political will of the community is running on empty.’
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