For a long time it was said that Italy had an “American wife and an Arab mistress”, a slogan that represented the strategy of a country that chose to be an ally of democracies and regimes (even rivaling each other) as needed.
Energy has been at the center of many of these relationships, and also for this reason, to American wife and Arab lover, we then added a further relationship (not always consensual with the other parties) with the Russia, from which we now import over 28 percent of our gas.
Could anything change with nuclear power? Probably yes, and that is why the statements of the Minister Cingolani they should not be underestimated, since, from a pro-nuclear choice, it is not only a question of considering data and science, but also of evaluating the geopolitical consequences.
Italy’s energy dependence: an unresolved problem
Italy is forced to import beyond the 77 percent of the energy used in the country. A fact that places it among the most employees across the continent, in a situation similar to very small states, such as Luxembourg or Malta. To take an opposite example, France generates beyond the 70 percent of its own electricity through nuclear power.
The principles of economic science consider it a good when countries trade and exchange goods or services: as Adam Smith taught, it is possible to reduce the risks of conflict, support economic development and job opportunities. However, trading with a country is very different from being dependent on it, and trading with one or more democratic countries is very different from depending on one or more regimes that have little in common with democracy.
Nuclear? More freedom of choice for international relations
Italy’s energy dependence obliges our governments, for decades now, to have little choice in the field of diplomatic relations And international policies. The history of our country is dotted with episodes of political choices that fall into this area: an action in support of the United States, a pleasure for the governments of Arab countries, including terrorists, and, when possible, a endorsement to Prime Minister Putin.
Not having good relations with countries on which the operations of companies, hospitals and people depend, is in fact not desirable considering that Russia has often threatened the interruption of gas transfer, as a “weapon” of political management.
The development of a nuclear strategy, as it happens in other countries in the world, together with an efficient (and realistic) ecological transition, could allow Italy not only to reduce energy costs (among the highest in Europe), and fight global warming by replacing fossil fuels, but also to increase its bargaining power in international relations, having more choice of partners and public decisions.
A freedom that this country has yet to completely conquer.