The chart-topping political debates in Italy at the moment are the economic crisis, crime and security, federalism, and illegal immigration – ranked in importance according to the particular peccadiloes of each political party. One interesting phenomena, which is tied to each of these issues in one way or another, is the issue of Italian emmigration.
Italian history, since unification, has been marked by serious internal migration and emmigration, and whilst this monkey has yet to track down current emmigration figures there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that Italy’s brightest young talent still decides / is pushed to emmigrate – see Italiansinfuga.com, Controesodo.it amongst others.
Ivan Scalfarotto has abiography that reads like a condensed history of Italian migration patterns – born in Pescara to a Neopolitan Mother, he grew up in Foggia, studied in Napoli, lived and worked in Milan and Genoa before heading to live and work in both London and Moscow. He wrote an interesting article over the weekend in L’Unitá proposing five moves that could help reverse the trend of emmigration providing incentives for emmigrants to return to Italy. The proposals are based around the idea suggested by the research of Richard Florida and Irene Tinagli, amongst others, that employment is not the only factor affecting migratory flows. Quality of life, a difficult thing to measure, comes into play.
The five proposals offered by Scalfarotto offer an interesting sketch of the country Italy currently is, and the country it could be:
1) The eliminiation of the legal value of study titles from Universities. A complex issue, but in essence degrees issued in Italy have a legal status and are required to join various professional bodies. Critics suggest that this has led to an over-proliferation of Universities and courses, with little connection to professional formation and reduced competition between Universities. Not one Italian university featured in this list of the top 100 Universities worldwide
2) The abolition of professional orders – there are wide range of jobs in Italy for which one must first join an order of professionals (for example Journalists, accountants, notaries, medics, pharmacists). The Autorita Garante – akin to an ombudsman – has published a report suggesting that the current system works largely in favour of the orders and against competition with little visible benefit to the wider public.
3) The passing of a law ensuring wage parity between men and women.
4) Set sanctions for companies whose board of directors does not include at least one woman.
For more information on gender equality trends within the eu – there’s an interesting report here (which suggests that while the situation is particularly grave in Italy, there are plenty of other countries with little to brag about within the eu)
5) The approval of a law, in keeping with European standards, on civil unions to guarantee freedom of movement for families returning, regardless of the makeup of these families.
Interesting and fresh proposals, which by definition should ensure that the elderly male Italian parliament steers well clear of them.