HomeWorldItaly: With Meloni in power, Brussels predicts tension, but no rupture

Italy: With Meloni in power, Brussels predicts tension, but no rupture


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“It is not the first time that we are in danger of facing governments formed by far-right or far-left parties,” reminds the European Commissioner for Justice

The prospect of an Italian far-right government Georgia Meloni worries Brussels, especially on the issue of sanctions against Moscow, but diplomats and experts do not imagine that Rome of the right/far-right alliance, the favorite in Sunday’s election, will take the risk of giving up the huge package of European resources that Mario Draghi’s government secured for Italy.

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“It is not the first time that we are at risk of facing governments formed by far-right or far-left parties,” European Justice Commissioner Didier Renter recalls.

“Let’s leave it to the voters to choose their representatives. We will react to the actions of the new government and we have tools at our disposal.”

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Its leader post-fascist party Fratelli d’ItaliaGeorgia Meloni, as favorite in the pollsis preparing to govern in coalition with the anti-European, populist League of Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi.

In the midst of the crisis caused by the Russian attack on Ukraine, Italy is preparing to become, after Sweden, the second country in the European Union with a government in alliance with the far right.

As we approach a winter that is expected to be difficult and will test European unity, the political changes that have taken place in Sweden and are foreseen for Italy “will not help to make the necessary difficult decisions”, emphasizes Fabian Zuleeg, of the European Policy Centre.

The return of the ghosts

The alliance of the Forza Italia party – a member of the European People’s Party – with the extreme right is causing intense criticism in the European Parliament.

“The ghosts we thought were gone are coming back. The fact that the pro-fascist parties can win elections in Europe with the approval of the European People’s Party is very worrying” said the president of the socialist group Irace García Perez denouncing the support expressed for this approach with the extreme right by the German Manfred Weber, president of the EPP and head of the group in the European Parliament.

The breaking of the barrier to the extreme right worries the member states. “The danger is the lifting of taboos that will favor similar alliances in Spain and France,” says a European official.

Within the European institutions, however, the assessment is that the size of the funds earmarked for Italy’s economic recovery – 200 billion euros – will motivate the new Italian leadership to some degree of sobriety in the background.

“Abandoning the billions of the recovery plan would be suicidal,” says Sébastien Maillard, director of the Jacques Delors institute.

“Disturbing Uncertainty”

“Italy has increased the number of messages to reassure the markets and European partners”, emphasizes a European diplomat. “Who will be the finance minister? The names circulating are names well known in Brussels. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.”

“Italians have not become anti-European and Eurosceptic like the British,” adds Sébastien Maillard. “On the contrary, with Salvini in the coalition, Vladimir Putin can rest easy that there will be no new European sanctions against Russia.”

More broadly, the positions of party leaders who will join Italy’s potential governing coalition have fluctuated.

“This uncertainty is worrying,” admits France’s Minister of European Affairs, Laurence Bunn.

It is certain that Paris and Berlin will lose an important ally within the European Union. Emmanuel Macron had cultivated a very close relationship with Mario Draghi. “Italy will become a difficult ally for France,” predicts Sébastien Maillard.

Tensions in the Union are also expected on the issue of immigration and many social issues, mainly the right to abortion.

Another point of friction expected with Italy: Georgia Meloni’s vocal opposition to sanctions proposed by the European Commission to force Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to address Hungary’s endemic corruption and respect the rule of law.

A special majority is necessary to decide on the withholding of European funds and the opposition of Italy, one of the major founding countries, can block the process.

“We will see if the states will be able to maintain the pressure on Viktor Orbán,” says the Commission official without hiding his doubts.


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