A Right Dilemma - Politics


There are names in politics that shine red like warning lights. The bad reputation of such people rubs off, and politicians with ambitions prefer to stay away from them.

One of these people is Silvio Berlusconi. The former Italian head of government was never appetizing as a person and never scrupulous as an entrepreneur and politician in the choice of his means. Almost three dozen cases have been filed against the 85-year-old, and his violations of the law range from corruption and abuse of office to tax evasion and the promotion of prostitution by minors. If you could choose, as a leading member of the European Parliament you would probably not voluntarily show yourself with Berlusconi in an election campaign video.

Manfred Weber, CSU politician, President of the European People's Party (EPP) and Chairman of its group in the European Parliament, probably knows that too. In this respect, it cannot really have surprised him that his joint appearance with Berlusconi in an election campaign video by the Forza Italia (FI) party would be met with criticism. And that has been raining down in the past few days, especially from the other groups in the European Parliament. SPD MP Jens Geier said he was "quite shocked" that Weber was supporting someone like Berlusconi. The vice-president of the parliament, the FDP politician Nicola Beer, described the former Italian prime minister as "not worthy of support". From the ranks of the Greens it was said that Weber's electoral assistance was "strange". Weber was also tackled harshly again in the debate in the EU Parliament on Wednesday in Strasbourg.

If Weber's commitment to Berlusconi, however, one Not is, then strange. On the contrary, it's relatively easy to explain: Berlusconi still operates as President of the FI. The FI, in turn, belongs to the conservative-bourgeois EPP at European level, as do the CDU and CSU. So Weber was campaigning in Italy for a member of the political family he heads in Europe. That's part of his job.

But the practice is more complicated. Because more problematic than Berlusconi and Forza Italia are the two far-right parties with which the FI has entered into an electoral alliance for the Italian parliamentary elections on September 25 - the right-wing populist Lega, which is led by the knave and Putin admirer Matteo Salvini, as well as the post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia (FdI), the brothers of Italy. This party is led by Giorgia Meloni, a hardline nationalist and Eurosceptic. The right-wing alliance of three is currently leading the election polls, and Meloni has a good chance of becoming Italy's first female head of government.

Unlike the FI, Lega and Fratelli do not belong to the EPP. Your MEPs in the European Parliament have joined the groups of other party families - those whose loyalty to the EU can certainly be doubted. The Lega belongs to the right-wing nationalist group Identity and Democracy (ID), which is also the home of the German AfD. The Fratelli d'Italia are members of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).

In practice, Weber advocates an electoral alliance with anti-European parties

For Weber, this means that he personally only campaigns for the FI. De facto, however, he is also committed to an electoral alliance to which two more than disreputable parties belong. In Weber's environment, people are well aware of this problem of being caught or hung along. The counter-argument: Berlusconi and Forza are reliably pro-European and bourgeois. The better the FI performs in the election - possibly also with Weber's help - the better it can monitor the future right-wing Italian government to ensure that the country does not deviate from the European course.

So far, the right-wing coalition has tried to allay concerns about a turnaround in Italy's traditionally pro-European politics. Meloni also knows that as the new head of government she will have to deal with a winter of crisis, says a confidant of Weber. She will not turn the financial markets against Rome by doing anti-European things. However, according to Weber's environment, this is only the analysis at the moment - before the election. How Lega and Fratelli will react to the EU when they are in power is also not known for sure. It's also possible that Silvio Berlusconi will actually be the only real European in Rome.



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