Whatever the political judgment on the Roman days of the Italy-Africa summit – certainly much emphasized by the national media apparatus, probably less glittering in the results than what was reported on television – the government must be recognized for having claimed a leading role for Italy in the Mediterranean area.
Even the insistent (and discounted in the definition and objectives) use of “suggestion Mattei” with the plan passepartout evoked by President Meloni, can lend itself to interpretations of continuity with Italian foreign policy which, starting from the intuitions of the “partisan president” of Eni, has moved in the wake ofMediterranean option coexisting with the Atlanticist and pro-European vocation.
Italy, the EU and the southern Mediterranean
Italy, therefore, can play a leading role in the Mediterranean not only for its history and geography, but also for its ability to interact with people of the African continent, for the dialogue tradition established by democratic governments and Italian business with the Maghreb countries and beyond, and with the cultural institutions of the entire basin, in a dimension that goes well beyond the containment of migratory flows towards ‘Europe, but it is projected in terms of promotion of the development of the young African continent.
Furthermore, Italy is able to play this role by producing positive effects for the entire EUwhich has shown that it does not have adequate awareness of the historical, political and economic need for a fruitful interaction with the Mediterranean, abdicating a role which today seems, in some aspects, to be played by China and, incidentally, even by Turkey and from Russia.
In its relationship with the southern Mediterranean, Europe has always oscillated between a welfare approach, one of predation and the same guilty indifference. Although obviously not having a comparable ethical register, these are approaches that leave the Mediterranean peoples incapable of self-determination towards development.
The crucial role of the training of public officials in contemporary Africa
In reality, what is missing is a serious, continuous and structural one elite training project. Because among the major problems that afflict the African continent, condemning it to a condition of endemic underdevelopment, there is the absolute lack of a ruling classof a dorsal of civil servant capable of providing a strategic horizon to African nations. And this difficulty, which reverberates both in the state bureaucracy and in political representation, cannot find internal tools to overcome due to the insufficiency of local higher education structures.
In particular, there is a lack of a class of public officials, especially at the top level, capable of guaranteeing the continuity of the state experience, protecting it from the abrupt regime changes that have characterized the political and institutional events of some countries on the African continent. Where, moreover, experiences of public administrators similar to the figure of the civil servant are not foreign to the history of areas touched by Islamic influence.
If we agree, therefore, that the issue of the formation of an elite of state servants represents a very important issue from the point of view of the possibilities of balanced development of democracies and of the economies in the non-European Mediterranean basin, it will be useful to reflect on “how” this difficulty could be overcome by building, moreover, a favorable interaction for relations between EU countries and Mediterranean countries outside the Union.
Probably the model to which it could be referred is that of European Schools of Public Administrationsuch as the French ENA, which, through an important course of studies based on rigorous meritocratic criteria, have produced ruling classes in the political and bureaucratic fields, also having regard to an internationalist horizon of their audience.
It is useful to look at that experience when planning the constitution of a post-graduate training centre, dedicated to Public Administration, which has as users the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean (including, therefore, the non-EU Balkan area) and which can see our country promoted in a mix between state and private higher education institutions which, far from any suggestion of cultural hegemony, it welcomes forms of osmosis between different experiences, having as its model, however, an idea of European-style administration. A’Mediterranean Europe it’s a’Italy aware of its Mediterranean naturetherefore, in line with the vision of Enrico Mattei, the inventor of national foreign policy.