By Senatore Renato Turano
It is the time of year when we direct our attention to the government’s fiscal plans for Italy. Just like in past years, my focus is on guaranteeing financial support for our consular network, the promotion of the Italian language and culture, CGIE, Comites, the Italian press and the Italian Chambers of Commerce abroad.
First off, the government has set aside a so-called “Culture Fund,” which includes a portion of funding to spread Italian language and culture around the world. We need to be able to use these funds in a smart way, creating a systematic approach. Our communities have always represented a vital resource for Italy. They will be key in this strategy.
Furthermore, our language and culture represent a label of excellence all over the world. Language is also the essential vehicle to maintain close ties among generations: older generations always pass on to the younger ones many different traditions and values. Nowadays, there is also a growing demand to learn the Italian language. If we ignore this demand, we risk losing our spot to other languages and cultures.
I think we need to work on better coordination among our communities, the CGIE, Comites, diplomatic authorities, ICE, ENIT, and the chambers of commerce, which are the support centers for Italian businesses operating around the globe. This is the reason for my firm support of these institutions in the form of several amendments to the country’s fiscal plans. My hope is that more money and resources can be dedicated to these important realities.
I am also working toward obtaining a raise for all those contracted to work at our consulates and embassies and, in general, to have their numbers increased. Then there’s my never-ending hope that we will be able to reinstate the possibility for many emigrants born in Italy to regain citizenship from their country of birth.
We Italians living abroad are a vast community, and it is important to remember all the history that we carry with us when moving to another country. Over the past few months, we have witnessed useless criticism and attacks on our community, including attacks on Balbo and Columbus. I am very critical of these attacks.
Over the years, we have seen our community change and evolve. Newly arrived immigrants are also very different from those who came here decades ago. We find ourselves grappling with new immigration patterns, which bring new challenges. The needs of younger immigrants are very different from the needs of the older generations and we must find the right answers. I think Comites can have an important role for these new and young immigrants.
The image of Italy that we project depends on how much attention we dedicate to our country. It is therefore vital to sustain RAI television’s mission abroad, although we also must think about strategies and ways to implement new technologies that can benefit our community. A smart mix of traditional and innovative technology can help us reach out to more people.
Keeping in mind all these elements, our outreach to the community is certainly a primary goal. I do fear, though, that our consular networks might be stretched too thin, especially as the influx of new immigrants continues to grow steadily. That is why I have been advocating for a more prominent role for the patronati when it comes to delivering essential services to our citizens, who might have a hard time getting to their nearest consulate.
The many institutions that I have listed above are part of the Italy System, a network that strives every day to highlight the value of our country. In order for everyone to do their job, we must ensure that all Italians living abroad are kept in mind as we finalize the fiscal plans for Italy’s future.