Six recommendations to promote a balanced migration narrative

A few weeks ago I talked to The MARSA project about recommendations to promote balanced migration narratives. This interview draws on the finding and research carried out by EUROMED Migration V, a programme funded by the EU and implemented by the ICMPD. It supports EU Member States and the European Neighbourhood Instrument Southern Partner Countries (ENI SPCs) in establishing a comprehensive, constructive and operational dialogue and co-operation framework on migration, with a particular focus on reinforcing instruments and capacities to develop and implement evidence-based migration policies.

The issue of migration has over the past years taken centre stage in European, North African and Middle Eastern media. Conflicts in Syria and Libya coupled with political and economic instability in several countries in the Mediterranean, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East have resulted in large scale movement of migrants and refugees throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region.

We have all seen the stark images depicted in the media of migrants and asylum seekers packed aboard vessels of questionable seaworthiness, risking life and limb to make the treacherous journey across the sea in search of a safe haven and a better future.

As well, we have witnessed a range of different approaches to covering migration. Numerous ICMPD reports have drawn to the fact that the migration narrative in the region is characterized by a strong polarization. Such a divided and confrontational public discourse is often devoid of a wider understanding of migration.

In the age of disinformation, it is even harder to achieve a balanced public discussion that is functional rather than antagonistic to effective governance, that reconciles evidence with the need for emotional resonance, and that achieves a greater understanding of migration. An important step needed is for governments, institutions, news sources, civil society and big digital platforms to work together to promote authoritative sources. Otherwise misleading narratives take root and develop a life of their own. That was true before the COVID-19 pandemic and so-called “infodemic”. It is even truer, now as certain categories of migrants, such as irregular migrants in the Mediterranean, are particularly affected by COVID-19-related disinformation and misinformation since they are already subject to overly simplistic media framing.

I believe that a fair and balanced view of migration in the media is an essential stepping stone towards developing a more nuanced understanding of migration among the general public as well as contributing to drafting and implementing migration policies that work.

So what would be the practical recommendations to foster a balanced migration narrative? Among the many let me focus on six.

Reinforcing positive examples and approaches

To promote existing best practice examples and to encourage use of available information and data.

  1. In particular, efforts could be made to examine whether national initiatives, such as the Charter of Rome in Italy and the Greek Charter of Idomeni, can be applied in other countries throughout the region;
  2. Promote exchange of media best practices from countries where the migration crisis is most acute, such as Lebanon and Jordan and other Southern Mediterranean countries;
  3. Encourage journalists, media support groups and media organisations to develop regional and sub-regional initiatives to improve migration reporting;

Training

To develop comprehensive training programmes for media and journalists to encourage ethical reporting with a focus on:

  • Use of correct terminology
  • Understanding international law and legal rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seek­ers
  • Avoiding hate-speech and political bias in reporting of migration concerns
  • Providing balanced coverage from the standpoints of receiving host communi­ties
  • Developing diversity in sources of information.

Media Action

To develop support programmes for media organisa­tions and to strengthen their capacity to report on migration issues. In particular, by:

  • The appointment of specialist migration correspon­dents in all newsrooms
  • Promoting national media partnerships for coverage of migration
  • Providing special information resources for dis­placed people from war-zones to help them keep in touch with their home communities
  • Most importantly, encouraging newsrooms to move beyond coverage of the migration “crisis” and move into coverage of issues of integration that will assist normalisation of migrants in the public sphere.

Supporting policy makers

To encourage policymakers, community and civil society leaders to play a more active role in creating space dialogue about migration. In particular,

  • Policymakers should examine how they can fund and support better journalism without compromis­ing the editorial independence of the media;
  • All officials and agencies providing information to the media should check facts and verify information thereby assisting the media to prepare balanced reports.

Building Dialogues: Understanding Migration and a Culture of Civil Discourse

To promote the sharing of information and experience between countries and regional dialogue frameworks by:

  • Organising national workshops with journalists on the challenges of covering migration, to share experiences and identify possible joint programmes;
  • Organising regional media “summits” to exchange information on the challenges facing journalists and media in different countries;
  • Promoting a common approach to:
  • Combat hate-speech, stereotyping and misinfor­mation in public discourse
  • Understanding migration as a process with historical roots in all com­munities.
  • Valuing independent and inclusive me­dia coverage to creating peace and stability.

Research the role of values in policy communication

Throughout the twentieth century, psychologists made numerous attempts to classify human values. While the importance of values as predictors of human attitudes dates back to the 1960s, the use of values in communication is highly debated, but it remains a very poorly defined and understudied field.

  • Values come from numerous psycological and societal factors, from family upbringing to education, from religious attachment to the history of a person’s territory. One of the biggest mistakes that a recent ICMPD report highlights, is to delegitimize a community’s value (or a value shared by a specific target audience) as not acceptable or illegitimate. 
  • After defining values and demonstrating their relationship with attitudes to immigration, we can deduce that messaging with a value-basis that is concordant with that of its audience is likely to elicit sympathy, whereas that which is discordant with the values of its audience is more likely to elicit antipathy. Given the value-balanced orientations of those with moderate attitudes to immigration, persuasive migration messaging should attempt to mobilise values of its opposition;
  • Specifically to the case of migration, and following on from the review on the relationship between values and attitudes to immigration, when migration messaging is framed in values of self-transcendence (universalism and benevolence) or openness to change (self-direction, stimulation, hedonism) it is more likely to be supported by those already favouring immigration.
  • When migration messaging is framed in values of conservation (security, tradition or conformity) or self-enhancement (power and to a lesser extent achievement) it is more likely to be supported by those already opposing immigration. To be most effective, messaging should use the opposite values of those already associated with its argument.
  • This is a highly debated but poorly known field of sociology and communication that can definitely represent a turning point in reversing a communication trend where polarization and sensationalism are somehow monopolizing the migration debate in a way that does not benefit neither migrants nor hosting communities and make the work of migration policy makers harder than ever.

These are six recommendations on promoting a balanced migration narrative in the Euro-mediterranean region and beyond.

Interview with Ronnie Goldberg on labour migration and COVID19

A few days ago I had the pleasure to interview Ronnie Goldberg, Senior Counsel at the United States Council for International Business, Chair of the International Organisation of Employers and representative for the Global Forum for Migration Development. We discussed global labour migration trends and the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. This interview is one episode of the EUROMED Migration Talks, a set of interviews launched by EUROMED Migration V.

Do you identify as European?

A few days ago I had the pleasure to be interviewed for the Europe’s Stories series, a new research project of the Dahrendorf programme of the University of Oxford.

Between Brexit, populism, Eurozone tensions and divided European reactions to Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, many wonder if Europe has lost the plot. Some argue that, aside from actual policies, there is a burning need for a new narrative for the European project. 

How should it (or they) be told? By whom, for whom and, not least, by what means? In the digital age, with young Europeans growing up in the online world of social media, what are the best forms for making this story (or stories) accessible and attractive? Can one realise the European ideal of ‘unity in diversity’ in narrative/s?

This new research project of the Dahrendorf programme seeks to explore these and other questions, starting by asking what stories Europe – in all its multiple meanings, by no means confined to the institutions of the EU – does currently tell. We held a major international, interdisciplinary conference in Oxford in May 2019, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Dahrendorf Programme. We are working with polling groups such as the eupinions project. An innovative website has been launched – europeanmoments.com – containing interviews with around 100 Europeans on their formative, best and worst European moments, as well as in-depth interviews with leading Europeans and interesting findings from public opinion surveys. Podcasts created in the context of the Europe’s Stories project are available here

The project is directed by Professor Timothy Garton Ash and the Research Manager is Selma Kropp. An advisory committee consists of leading Oxford academics: Professor Paul BettsDr Jonathan BrightProfessor Faisal DevjiProfessor Carolin DuttlingerProfessor Robert GildeaProfessor Ruth HarrisDr Sudhir HazareesinghProfessor Andrew HurrellDr Hartmut Mayer, Professor Kalypso Nicolaidis, Professor Rasmus Nielsen and Professor David Priestland.

The project is generously funded by the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit, the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius and Stiftung Mercator.

City-to-City Talks with Imene Ouardani – Vice-Mayor of the City of Sousse

Mobilising stakeholders and CSOs, cooperating with central authorities to develop response plans, making information more accessible. In the framework of the initiative City-to-City Migration Talks featured by Mediterranean City-to-City Migration (MC2CM), project funded by the European Union and co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, we have interviewed Imen Ouardani, Vice Mayor of the City of Sousse, to showcase the City’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The municipality of Sousse was both active and proactive when dealing with the pandemic by taking counter measures against the virus before the central government had even acted” said Ouardani, who is also the President of the Commission for Equality and Equal Opportunities between Men and Women. Finding quick and appropriate solutions for its residents has been the priority for the City of Sousse, which has cooperated side by side with regional directorates and local residents to implement measures addressing migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Coping with an outbreak, in fact, requires both quickness and agility, and this is even more true when vulnerable groups are in danger.

Fine-tuning with the local committee providing social assistance to these publics has been of paramount importance to contain the impact of the pandemic on communities treacherously affected by such a crisis. “In order to protect vulnerable communities, the City of Sousse has launched a comprehensive support programme in synergy with various stakeholders in the region, with the aim of coordinating efforts with the local committee providing social assistance to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers – adds Ouardani –. This committee has pooled its resources to respond to their pressing needs under the slogan Supportive Sousse”. Food packages, financial support, medical and psychological care have been amongst the main measures undertaken.

A considerable effort has been made also in terms of communication. The City of Sousse has chosen not only to publish all relevant information both in French and Arabic, but also to work in synergy with organisations interacting with migrant communities on a daily basis, to overcome language barriers and make information on the COVID-19 crisis more accessible. “Migrants place more trust in their own community, whether that’s in real life or virtually”, suggested Ouardani.

Sousse has been able to mobilise stakeholders and CSOs to meet the needs of migrants but also help in other relevant domains such as the health sector, as well as in monitoring compliance with measures implemented by cities and municipalities. “Demand on health and social services has exceeded their limits, thus jeopardising their ability to provide basic services to vulnerable groups – declared Ouardani –. Associations have played a key role in ensuring our efforts were a success”.

Many lessons learnt, and many projects on the table for the coming months. The City of Sousse would like now to establish an office to welcome and provide information and guidance to migrant communities. To foster cooperation, amongst the initiatives that Sousse would implement there is also a migration monitoring centre, which could gather all active local stakeholders working with migrants. Misinformation and discrimination require a special consideration too, according to Ouardani, as well as “preparing an economic integration strategy for migrants and notably illegal workers” and advocating to find a solution to regularise their residency status in order to enable them to fully integrate into local economic life.

Exchanging and sharing expertise and know-how with other cities of the network has been of the utmost importance to better frame these actions. “The MC2CM project – added Ouardani – has enabled us to enhance and boost communication between cities by sharing good practices and by strengthening our multilevel communication skills, whether vertically or horizontally”.  

Interview with Nina Grigori, Executive Director of EASO

For the Euromed MIgration Talks series, I had the pleasure to interview Nina Gregori – Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office – EASO to discuss the main challenges faced by the agency in terms of communication while providing an overview of the state of play of the narrative on asylum in Europe, and explains how asylum narratives can have an impact on policy-making.

Nominated #EUinfluencer on migration

Yesterday I was nominated in #EUinfluencer for the third time and first time as top influencer on “migration”. Thanks to ZN for organizing this great event online and thanks to my new colleagues at International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) for giving me the opportunity to explore the world of migration narratives, policy and governance. There is still a lot of work to do!

Find here the panel I had the pleasure to share with Pablo Perez and Jennifer Baker.

Dodging disenfranchising: Can “Europe” talk to its citizens?

This article was originally published in The European Post

Just before the COVID-19 lockdown that hit Europe, and the world, I flew to Brussels for a thematic roundtable on communication and disinformation. At dinner with some of the events’ speakers, I engaged in conversation with a prominent representative of a progressive pro-European think tank that said (I quote) “the benefits and the enjoyment of mobility in Europe are so evident that they hardly need to be communicated.”

On the spot, I was quite flabbergasted. For over a decade, the Brussels press corps had been pointing out how EU policy makers, and more in general EU communication, were too distant from “real Europeans”, warning them not to be overly disillusioned when it comes to regular Joe’s knowledge of the EU. Sitting at again another Brussels dinner hearing that citizens’ engagement is nothing to be worried about, left me quite astounded on the level of disillusion the dwellers of the heart of Europe are actually living in. Quite an alarming bell.

Are European citizens fully and consciously enjoying the wonders of the Union? 190 million Europeans have never been abroad. We are talking about 37% of all EU citizens today. Single currency, removal of border controls, Erasmus, or even the end of roaming charges. How could these people have a genuine interest in such issues? Yet, these are surprisingly the topics around which the institutions of the European Union have built a considerable part of their narrative, in an effort to come closer to their citizens.

The free movement of workers is a fundamental right guaranteed by the EU. All citizens are entitled to look for a job in another EU country, work and reside there without needing a permit, enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages. But, how many EU citizens really take advantage of this right?Among the EU citizens of working age, only 3.3 % reside in an EU country other than that of their citizenship. Now, consider that this is the union of States that went the furthest in history to foster human mobility.

What this tells us is that the vast majority of Europeans are born, live and die in the country or territory of their birth. Apart from a few capital cities, the European melting pot is hardly in sight. This does not mean that the Union is dysfunctional or that mobility is unimportant. It means instead that there is an important attachment of citizens to their home territories, that these are part of their identity and that mostly people do not have the intention to live in, and apparently even visit, other countries. If this fundamental aspect of European demography will continue to be disregarded or dismissed, the risk is that the majority of European citizens could feel even more disenfranchised by the European project.

In his book Demeure, French philosopher and Member of the European Parliament Francois Xavier Bellamy explains the difference between “Somewheres” citizens, rooted in a specific place or community, usually a small town or the countryside, socially conservative, often less educated – and “Anywheres” citizens, footloose, often urban, socially liberal and university educated. This idea was first developed in a more specific British context by David Goodhart in “The Road to Somewhere”, where he explains that Somewheres are characterised by an unease with the modern world and the strong belief that national leaders should put their interests first. Anywheres are free of nostalgia. Egalitarian and meritocratic in their attitude to race, sexuality, gender, they are light in their attachments “to larger group identities, including national ones. They value autonomy and self-realisation before stability, community and tradition”.

Photo: https://bit.ly/2GYyBhb

Now, the point is: how can the Union reach Somewheres? Not an easy task, if we consider that, regardless the years of warning and analyses, the Union still preaches extensively to the choir. In fact, while there has been significant improvement over the years, the lack of specific targeted communication towards decentralized territories is a major cause for alienation of citizens towards the Union, or even more the often-debated “European way of life”.

What I feel, especially now that I left Brussels after 10 years in the business, is not only a communication gap, but also a true delegitimisation of those who do not embrace “wokeness.” The priorities of Brussels-dwellers are so divergent from the majority of Europeans, that a “new wave of disenfranchisement” is on the way. Looking at numerous campaigns, it seems that topics related to the rule of law in some Member States, gender equality and green policies trump issues such as jobs, migration, economic recovery or the demographic challenges of territories losing inhabitants. The former are certainly fundamental for the progress of liberal-democracy, but the latter are what “the people” care about today. Turning a blind eye on this is very dangerous for the future of Europe, and EU communicators may regret this soon. Euroscepticism in some countries, including founding Members such as Italy, is worryingly high. Dreamy, overly unrealistic, and far progressive narratives make things worse and drive away those who already feel estranged and (legitimately!) share alternative values.

A new narrative for Europe must start from the territories and their people. Otherwise, we risk to witness some new “-exits”, and it would be too late then, for regrets.

Il salto che deve fare l’Ue nella comunicazione.

Questo editoriale é stato pubblicato su Formiche
L’Unione europea continua a parlare ai “suoi”, dimenticando i territori decentralizzati: è delle principali cause di alienazione dei cittadini verso l’Unione. Ecco da dover ripartire

Poco prima del lockdown causato dal coronavirus, che ha colpito l’Europa e il mondo, mi trovavo a Bruxelles per un evento istituzionale su comunicazione e disinformazione. A cena con alcuni dei relatori, intrattenni una conversazione con un rappresentante di spicco di un think tank progressista pro-europeista, che disse: ”I vantaggi della mobilità Europea sono talmente evidenti sarebbe futile continuare a comunicarli. Oltretutto, quasi tutti i miei amici sono sempre in viaggio in Europa”.

Sul momento rimasi sbalordito. Per oltre un decennio, il nocciolo duro del Brussels Press Corps ha sottolineato come i responsabili delle politiche dell’Unione europea e soprattutto gli addetti alla comunicazione delle stesse, fossero troppo distanti dai “veri cittadini europei”, i quali non condividono né si interessano alle tematiche che nella “bolla europea” invadono la sfera del dibattito.

Sedersi nuovamente a un’altra cena a base di nouvelle cuisine dietro al Berlaymont, ascoltando l’ennesima ineluttabile testimonianza (ovviamente personale) che il sentimento dei cittadini non sia nulla di cui preoccuparsi, mi lasciò basito per il livello di disillusione in cui vivono gli abitanti del cuore dell’Europa. Un vero campanello d’allarme. Una sorta di sindrome di Peter Pan, dove i fautori della narrativa europea non vogliono crescere per affrontare le responsabilità che sono là fuori. “Dimenticali Wendy, dimenticali tutti, vieni com me dove non dovrai mai, mai pensare alle cose dei grandi”.

Mettiamo la realtà sul tavolo.

Centonovanta milioni di europei non sono mai stati all’estero, ossia il 37% di tutti i cittadini Ue. Moneta unica, rimozione dei controlli alle frontiere, Erasmus, fine delle tariffe di roaming. Come possono queste persone avere un genuino interesse per tali questioni? Eppure, questi sono sorprendentemente ancora oggi i temi attorno ai quali le istituzioni europee costruiscono parte della loro narrativa, nel tentativo di avvicinarsi ai cittadini.

La libera circolazione dei lavoratori è un diritto fondamentale garantito dall’Ue. Tutti i cittadini hanno il diritto di cercare un lavoro in un altro Paese dell’Ue, risiedervi senza bisogno di un permesso, godere della parità di trattamento nell’accesso all’occupazione, alle condizioni di lavoro e i connessi vantaggi sociali e fiscali. Ma quanti cittadini dell’Ue si avvalgono davvero di questo diritto? Tra i cittadini Ue in età lavorativa, solo il 3,3% risiede in un Paese dell’Ue diverso da quello di cittadinanza. Soffermiamoci sul fatto che stiamo discutendo dell’unione di Stati che più nella storia ha favorito e incentivato la mobilità.

Ciò che questo ci dice è che la stragrande maggioranza degli europei nasce, vive e muore nel Paese o nel territorio di origine. Con l’eccezione di alcune capitali, il “crogiuolo europeo”, il cosiddetto melting pot, non è una realtà. Ciò non significa che l’Unione sia disfunzionale o che la mobilità non sia importante. Significa piuttosto che esiste un importante attaccamento dei cittadini ai loro territori, che tali fanno parte della loro identità e che per lo più le persone non hanno l’intenzione di vivere in, o addirittura visitare, altri Paesi. Se questo aspetto fondamentale della demografia europea continuerà a essere respinto, la maggioranza dei cittadini continuerà a sentirsi alienata, o peggio, svantaggiata dal progetto europeo stesso piuttosto che parte integrante.

Nel suo libro Demeure il filosofo francese ed europarlamentare Francois-Xavier Bellamy spiega la differenza tra cittadini somewheres — radicati in un luogo o comunità specifici, socialmente conservatori e spesso meno istruiti — e cittadini anywheres — disinvolti, spesso urbani, socialmente liberali e con istruzione universitaria. I somewheres sono caratterizzati da un disagio con il mondo moderno e dalla forte convinzione che i leader nazionali dovrebbero mettere i loro interessi al primo posto (vi ricorda qualcosa?). Al contrario gli anywheres sono privi di nostalgia, egualitari, meritocratici e fluidi nel loro concetto di razza, sessualità, genere e non sono attaccati alle identità di gruppo più grandi, comprese quelle nazionali. Danno valore all’autonomia e all’autorealizzazione prima della stabilità, della comunità o della tradizione. È importante spiegare che in Europa gli anywheres sono numericamente la minoranza, dunque il punto è: come può l’Unione raggiungere i somewheres? Un compito non facile, se si considera che, nonostante gli anni di moniti, avvertimenti e esortazioni dai più grandi esperti in comunicazione del mondo, l’Unione stia ancora parlando solo “ai suoi”, ossia a quelli che già godono e approfittano della mobilità di persone, beni e servizi garantita dal mercato unico. Mentre negli anni possiamo notare un miglioramento significativo, la mancanza di una comunicazione mirata e specifica verso i territori decentralizzati è una delle principali cause di alienazione dei cittadini verso l’Unione, o ancor più il noto “stile di vita e valori europei” spesso dibattuti, ma totalmente indefiniti. Pensate che in Europa la maggior parte delle elezioni, anche regionali, non sono combattute su un asse destra contro sinistra ma su una nuova dimensione di grande centro urbano contro periferia.

Ciò che sento, ora che ho lasciato Bruxelles dopo 10 anni di attività fra i corridoi delle istituzioni é che l’Unione stia comunicando “l’isola che non c’é”, dimenticandosi della realtà. Osservando numerose campagne di informazione, sembra che i temi legati allo Stato di diritto (in alcuni Stati membri), le quote rosa e le politiche verdi prevalgano su questioni come il lavoro, la migrazione, la ripresa economica o le sfide demografiche dei territori che perdono abitanti. Mentre i primi sono certamente fondamentali per il progresso della democrazia liberale, i secondi sono ciò che interessa al “popolo” oggi. Chiudere un occhio su questo è molto pericoloso per il futuro dell’Europa.

L’euroscetticismo in alcuni Paesi, compresi membri fondatori come l’Italia, è preoccupantemente alto. Narrative sognanti, eccessivamente irrealistiche e troppo progressiste allontanano coloro che si sentono già estranei e (legittimamente!) condividono valori alternativi. La comunicazione deve ritrovare efficacia e coraggio per spiegare e promuovere lo spirito e i valori del vivere civile e sociale europeo, senza conformismo o ipocrisia.

L’unico cruccio di Jean-Claude Juncker durante il suo mandato da presidente della Commissione europea fu proprio quello di non intervenire nel dibattito sulla Brexit. Una nuova narrazione per l’Europa deve partire dai territori e dalla loro gente. Altrimenti rischiamo di assistere ad alcune nuove “uscite”, e allora sarebbe troppo tardi, per i rimpianti.

Tra mulini a vento e l’isola che non c’è: i paradossi odierni della comunicazione europea

Recentemente sono stato invitato da Italia Viva Parma per esporre le mie opinioni sullo stato della narrativa dell’Unione europea in Italia e oltre. Un dialogo fruttuoso che ha rappresentato per me un’ottima occasione per parlare di comunicazione politica e per spiegare quelli che considero i paradossi della comunicazione politica europea, oggi. La lotta tra euroscettici e pro-europeisti si combatte in effetti su due fronti, che sono rappresentati a mio avviso da due paradossi comunicativi: il paradosso dei mulini a vento, e quello dell’isola che non c’è.

Per quanto riguarda il primo, esso è ascrivibile ai gruppi politici euroscettici. Di cosa si tratta, nello specifico? Per farla breve: questi partiti ai fini di alimentare il consenso hanno creato una sorta di Leviatano, ovvero l’immagine poderosa di un’Europa che legifera sulla testa degli stati membri e, anzi, a discapito di essi. Una parvenza di una Europa iperfederale che nella realtà dei fatti così iperfederale poi non è. Perché parlo, quindi, di paradosso? Perché l’Unione Europea, oggi, non è mai stata così intergovernamentale. Tutte le decisioni sono frutto di negoziazioni. Un esempio? Le selezioni dei top jobs sono frutto di negoziazioni bilaterali (o per cluster regionali). Un altro? La Commissione Europea stessa ha solo iniziativa legislativa. È il Consiglio dell’Unione Europea ad avere potere decisionale. Un’illusione, dunque, non priva di conseguenze. Un racconto che ricorda il Don Chisciotte della Mancia di Cervantes, in cui il cavaliere errante si ritrova a confondere i mulini a vento con dei giganti dalle braccia rotanti in procinto di far del male alla sua amata Dulcinea. Ed è proprio in suo nome, che Don Chisciotte sfiderà a duello i mulini a vento. Pagherà lo scotto di questa illusione, con la morte. Un’immagine estremamente calzante se si pensa che in nome del consenso i partiti euroscettici abbian alla fine dei conti perso numerose battaglie a Bruxelles. Al di là degli slogan roboanti, la diplomazia europea non apprezza le parole senza i fatti. Per contare in Europa gli slogan non contano più. Cosa ci vuole, invece? Presenza e competenza.

Il secondo paradosso che ho avuto modo di presentare nel corso della lezione, è quello dell’isola che non c’è, ascrivibile piuttosto al fronte di coloro che definisco pro-europeisti a priori. In cosa consiste, questo paradosso? In sostanza, nell’immaginare una dimensione politica completamente slegata da quella che è invece la sua territorialità concreta. L’endorsement dei pro-europeisti a priori riposa sull’idea di un melting pot europeo che di reale ha ben poco. Poca considerazione della realtà locale e un disconoscimento pericoloso di quello che invece è il territorio. Questo è il paradosso dell’isola che non c’è, ovvero il paradosso di quei partiti che presuppongono un’Europa federalista che in realtà non esiste. Tristemente assenti sulle micropolitiche, politiche che non possono attuarsi che sintonizzandosi su quella che è la realtà locale, questi partiti rappresentano un decadimento del politico che rasenta quasi l’a-politismo. Si definiscono pro-Europa perché hanno la necessità di collocarsi sullo spettro politico, oggi contraddistinto più che mai da questa polarizzazione insanabile tra euroscettici e pro-europeisti. E difendono un ideale europeo senza alcun approccio critico ai valori di cui si fanno promotori. Tra l’attitudine dei primi, e quella dei secondi, esiste tuttavia una terza via. Quella del centro.

Ho parlato di euroscettici e di pro-europeisti a priori, sì, ma anche di tante altre tematiche. Il contrasto apparentemente insanabile tra coloro che abitano i grandi centri urbani e coloro che vivono invece nelle periferie. Il ruolo dei social media e l’elevato livello di coordinazione a livello comunicativo da parte dei partiti nazionalisti. La responsabilità che hanno i media nel raccontare l’Unione Europea, che oscilla oggi tra ipersemplificazione e astrazione, ma anche l’applicabilità o meno in Italia di strategie di comunicazione politica ben riuscite che provengono però da fuori.

Per ascoltare il mio intervento, il link al webinar qui di seguito.