Europe is in crisis because it is represented by institutions in which the Europeans have difficulty in identifying themselves. In choosing a city that perhaps represents little for us all as its capital, a Europe united has created cumbersome, distancing bureaucratic structures, making the individual countries captives of their own interests. What then might be lacking in Europe is this: a sense of meaning. And it is the city of Milan which could step forward in an attempt to create this.
Ten reasons why Milan should be the capital of Europe
#1. Its Position
“In a name, there lies an omen.” (Ancient Roman belief) Milan, in fact, was named Mediolanum by the Romans, because it was in the ‘middle of the plain’, the Lombardy flatlands. Milan is set right in the historic heart of Europe; if we draw a straight line of 1,000 kilometers in various directions, we would find ourselves connected to all the great cities of continental Europe: Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Budapest. Milan is the breaking point between North and South Europe, between East and West, while Brussels is peripheral, top-heavy in leaning towards the North Sea, the frontier of those countries, skeptical or beyond the reach of the European Union.
#2. Milan, a City more European than Italian
Milan is probably the only great European city with its own identity, yet not being the capital of a country, diversely than Brussels, Paris, London, and Berlin. It does not identify itself with the country or the region it belongs to, as does the Spanish and Catalan Barcelona. Uniquely, Milan is perhaps the only city that feels itself more European than the entire Lombardy Region, than Italy itself.
#3. Arised from all european cultures
Milan has felt strong influences of the various cultures that have created Europe. It was the capital of the Roman Empire, then subject to the Lombard invaders, arriving from Northern Europe, and also an important Germanic center of the Holy Roman Empire. It was once dominated by Spain, then, under Napoleon, occupied by France, successively becoming a jewel of the Habsburg Empire, and lastly, the moral capital of Italy. There is no other city in Europe that is the expression of so many European cultures.
#4. The Spirit of Excellence
Milan is a city of excellences. It is unique in all the world through the acknowledgements, prizes and rewards attributed to it. It is the world’s capital of fashion, of opera, design, and has created the international Fuorisalone, alternative events spread throughout the city and its fringes; its strength lies in its extraordinary creativity which has no rivals in any other city of the same proportion.
#5. International Openess
Milano is a city that makes everyone feel at home right away. It is made up largely of first, second and third generation Milanese. Almost all of the other principal cities of Europe are very chauvinistic; yet while opening the door to foreign investors and workers, they look to them as inferiors, as happens in London, Berlin and Paris. Milan instead looks favorably towards all that comes from abroad.
#6. Authentically European Values
The values of Milan are those authentic values upon which to reconstruct Europe, especially so as they are the result of the influences that Milan has received from other cultures: work activity, liberty, a spirit of enterprise, creativity, aesthetics, striving for excellence, internationality and autonomy of the member States.
#7. A City Innovating Our Opinions, Our Thoughts
With its businesses, its craftsmen and artisans, Milano has always been a city of action, but also one of opinions, of thoughts. It has innovated and revolutionized the spirit of the times giving birth to social movements that have created, for better or for worse, the history of Europe: Italian Socialism, Fascismo, even Futurism.
#8. A Model of Co-existence between the Public and Private Sectors
In Milan, private business activity is also concerned with Public Welfare. Its citizens possess a highly-developed civic conscience; it is the city with the largest total of benevolent associations in the world, and often public services are guaranteed to all private organizations. It is the most modern and functional bottom-up model with respect to that imposed ‘from on high’ by the centralist institutions of Brussels.
#9. Milan, a Symbol of Progress
At times, Milan is a city that has carried much weight politically, and on a cultural level, it has often been at the center of events. Francis The First of France and Charles The Fifth of Habsburg, the then Masters of the world, fixed their sights on Milan as the object of their desires, ceaselessly attempting to snatch it for themselves. They even arrived to the point of challenging each other to a duel in order to possess it. It is the city of the Edict of Constantine, with its noble act proposing universal tolerance, and the city of the Renaissance attracting such geniuses as Leonardo. Napoleon set up his Italian base here, establishing the principles of the French Revolution. It was the capital in the times of the Habsburg Empire’s Illuminism. Milan was the first city to use electrical energy, and it was the World War II city acting as the symbol of the movement to free Italy from Fascism.
#10. From the Europe of the Nations to the Europe of the Cities
Perhaps the most important reason why Milan should be the true capital of Europe is its implicit message: Milano is a city before it is a nation. And as a city, it has understood how to establish itself in the world, not through military power, but rather by using its intelligence, its creativity. It is from here that Europe should recommence: from its capital city, an expression of the highest culture and grandeur in the history of civilization.
Translated by Vincent Lombardo
Qui l’articolo in Italiano: 10 motivi perché Milano dovrebbe essere la capitale d’EUROPA