You are here

Massimo Piermattei gives talk at Cornell’s Romance Studies Graduate Conference

Ideas of the South poster

Massimo Piermattei is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Tuscia in the Economics and Business Department. His studies focus on the Europeanization of Italian political parties, and previously, he has studied Mediterranean Europe in the EU, Ireland, and the European integration process. On Saturday, March 12th, Piermattei spoke at Cornell University’s Romance Studies Graduate Conference “Ideas of South”. His detailed and thought-provoking presentation, titled “How many South in the EEC/EU? The Southern issues in the European integration process”, focused on the recent field of research on Southern Europe.

Piermattei, noted that the “South of the EU” is difficult to define, identifies the three macro-regions as the historical set, referring to Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece, the Balkan wedge, and the Turkish frontier. This brought us to one of the regions’ many issues: this wide range of nations does not make for a cohesive region, but rather a source of internal conflict paired with external criticism. To further complicate the matter, the South continues to grow, further confusing the regional identity of the South.  

While the South had previously been largely ignored in the scheme of Europe, the idea arose in 80’s and has become more apparent in recent decades. Piermattei highlighted pressing issues, such as the highly contentious influx of refugees and the economic crises of Greece and Italy, which have brought not only the European Union’s but also the rest of the world’s attention to the South. Although previously overlooked, the economic, political, and social turmoil in these countries have drawn countless headlines and outside intervention to the region, forcing the rest of the European Union and scholars to recognize the issues present.

Piermattei then concluded by identifying another key issue in the South’s integration: their lack of previous presence. He noted that since the southern countries joined so late, the rest of the European Union had gone through many momentous historical endeavors together without their presence. His line “united we stand, divided we fall” captures the current climate of the European Union and resonated with Saturday’s audience. Given the tumultuous state of the southern countries specifically, their integration into the European Union is strained, and therefore, fostering a lack of unity amongst Europe.

The Institute for European Studies would like the thank Massimo Piermattei along with all of the other speakers for their contribution to Saturday’s presentation. Massimo Piermattei’s work raised key issues that the European Union faces and identified the issues and the reasons for these issues that the South faces as a region. The talk as a whole fostered collaboration among scholars and proved to be both engaging and informative for audience members.