Italy voted – on the extreme right. The EU’s third largest economy is likely to be led soon by 45-year-old Giorgia Meloni. She is extremely skeptical about the European Union.
have for this moment Europe Right long waited. France’s model nationalist Marine Le Pen celebrates a “great victory” for the far-right Fratelli d’Italia.
Hungary’s constant troublemaker Viktor Orban sends a “Bravo, Giorgia!” to his girlfriend Meloni in Rome.
AfD MEP Nicolaus Fest is jubilant: “France, Sweden and now Italy are showing that the future belongs to conservatism!” What’s on the European Union to?
Specifically, a Roman woman who is not very tall – but who has not been overlooked anywhere since Sunday evening. Europe should also notice this when Giorgia Meloni and the right-wing extremist “Brothers of Italy“make the announcements made towards Brussels come true. The winner of the election wants to give the Italians back “dignity and pride”, she said the day after the great success.
What exactly that means, Meloni did not specify. She is very skeptical about the EU institutions. During the election campaign she was careful not to Brussels to attack too aggressively – after all, she wanted to come across as responsible and state-supporting. But once she burst out that the “fun” was over. She repeatedly indicated her view that Italy was not respected enough, even disadvantaged, for example by Germany.
The enemy of the European Union
For the Fratelli founder, the EU always had to serve as an enemy. Meloni hates the fact that a number of laws and norms of everyday life are created in Brussels and not in Rome. She is opposed to EU law taking precedence over Italian law. She has wanted to renegotiate EU treaties for years, especially the fiscal compact. In January 2018, she called the euro a “wrong currency” and called for compensation for those countries that suffered the most after its introduction – including Italy.
As the leader of the opposition, she mostly did not vote for the rules of the European multi-billion dollar package to fight the effects of the corona pandemic. At around 191 billion euros, Italy will receive more than any other country in the Union.
Because this huge chunk is only being paid out in bits and pieces, and each tranche is subject to conditions, observers assume that Meloni will initially not seek a violent confrontation with Brussels. The billions are urgently needed in the Mediterranean country. The recovery fund shows how Italy is internationally involved – so a radical right-wing government does not have unlimited leeway.
Salvini and Berlusconi weakened after individual results
Many are reassured that Meloni at least emphasizes that he wants to stick to his commitment to Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia. Your coalition partners Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, as friends and fans of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin, are more concerned – but after poor individual results, the two are weakened.
It is the first time in recent memory that one of the largest EU countries has been led by such a radical right. In Brussels and other capitals, some fear that after the trusting cooperation with the outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi, destructive things will now come from Rome with his designated successor. Will Italy, the EU’s third largest economy and founding country of the European Coal and Steel Community, paralyze – or at least weaken – the European Union?
“It will be uncomfortable for the European Union,” said Nino Galetti, the Rome office manager of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. He already identified a possible conflict. Galetti can imagine “that Giorgia Meloni will pose as an opponent of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen”.
The German politician caused an uproar in Italy last week when, when asked about a shift to the right in Rome, she said: “If things go in a difficult direction – I’ve already talked about Hungary and Poland – then we have tools.”
Warsaw and Budapest will have an ally
Meloni is concerned about Hungary and Poland. The Italian is friends with Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban, and Poland’s right-wing governing party PiS sits in the same parliamentary group as Melonis Fratelli. Several proceedings are underway in Brussels against the two Eastern European countries, which Meloni recently clearly criticized. It is hardly conceivable that Meloni’s government will soon vote to cut payments of 7.5 billion euros from the EU budget to Hungary. With her on the European Council, Warsaw and Budapest will have an ally.
The right, which was recently successful in Sweden, sees itself on the upswing in Europe. “Left-wing governments are so yesterday,” tweeted AfD member of the Bundestag Malte Kaufmann. The head of the right-wing populist Vox party in Spain, Santiago Abascal, wrote in a tweet: “Giorgia Meloni has shown the way for a proud, free Europe with sovereign nations.”
Migration: Meloni proposed naval blockade
Some might be less free in this Europe. A confrontation is to be expected in migration policy. Meloni promised to crack down on migrants coming across the Mediterranean. She even proposed a naval blockade off Africa. Such ideas – and other demands, such as abortion rights – are alarming.
France’s Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne let it be known on Monday that fundamental rights will be protected in all EU countries. “In Europe we have a set of values and of course we will be careful that these values regarding human rights and the right to abortion are respected by everyone,” she told BFMTV.
In Brussels it was said that they wanted to wait and see what would actually happen under a Meloni government after the uproar from the election campaign. “Nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked – especially in Italy,” said an EU diplomat.