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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned against populism in his address at the State of the Union conference in Florence on Friday. “Populists and nationalist have had material to feed their feelings and increase the distance with others (due to the migrant crisis),” Juncker said.

Solidarity is part of the founding pact of the European Union.

It is this same desire for renewed continental solidarity that animated those who, after the Second World War, launched the European construction and, having returned from the battlefields and concentration camps, transformed this eternal post-war prayer, “Never again the war” in a political program which releases its beneficial effects until today.

Continental solidarity again when we decided after the events of the late eighties, early nineties of the last century, together with our friends from Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, to enlarge the European Union towards the new democracies and towards these new economies which, from an administered system of economy, did not go by step to a system of market economy.

I will add: social market economy, because the market economy does not make sense without an obvious social fix.

It is in this sphere of solidarity that the European Union is what we have welcomed the newcomers and it is in this sphere of solidarity that one day we will welcome our partners in the Western Balkans. Western Balkans who are in dire need of a European perspective; otherwise we will relive all the misfortunes we experienced during the nineties. So we must remain faithful and want to remain faithful to the spirit of solidarity that characterizes our European Union.

But I am not – neither in solidarity nor elsewhere – naive, because solidarity is built, invented every day again. I remember very well that last year, when I spoke to you, I regretted that there is not enough solidarity in Europe. When everything goes well or almost well, solidarity is established by itself. But when we are confronted with crises as we have been in the last few years in the face of the European polycrisis, solidarity is fraying, apart, is sold by apartments.

We have seen it at the time of the economic crisis when, in the North of Europe, which believes itself to be more virtuous than the South, we have begun to rediscover this expression that I hate: “Club of the Mediterranean”. There is tourism, it does not exist when it comes to a Europe of solidarity.

This loss of solidarity, we have also seen at the time of the migration crisis – which is not over yet. I was shocked by the ruptures and cracks of solidarity that appeared in the context of the migration crisis. And I was among those – actually in the beginning we were not very numerous – who, having the dignity of the Italian people and the Greek people in mind, strongly and vigorously advocated for more solidarity with Italy and Greece. Because we can not leave alone those geography has placed in a place they can not move. Italy and Greece saved the honour of Europe in the Mediterranean and our response was too late.

I discovered during the migration crisis, also during the economic and financial crisis, that there are full-time Europeans who are always there when the necessary dose of Europe is needed. And then I discovered that there are part-time Europeans who sometimes participate, who sometimes do not come to work but who make a lot of speeches. I would like all European countries to be full-time Europeans.

“In this way solidarity unravels”.

“Europe and solidarity go together. Solidarity is part of Europe’s founding pact”.