extreme right divided
There is still a year left for the European elections, but in Rome they are already a political weapon. This week there have been two meetings that have marked Italian news. The first, a virtual meeting on Monday between the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, with the president of the National Group (RN), the French Marine Le Pen. She was expected in Rome, but she canceled the trip due to the social outbreak in France. The second, a face-off between Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday in Warsaw.
They are movements that are not trivial. Meloni, who is also president of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group – of which Vox is a part – has spent months courting the European People's Party (EPP) hoping that next year's community elections will lead to a new conservative wave . Her dream for a long time is that the next European ones represent a full stop and the conservatives displace the socialists in the majority that the European Commission of Ursula Von der Leyen chose. The will of the Italian prime minister is evident: to translate at the community level the agreement that is already working for her at home, where she governs hand in hand with Forza Italia – now led de facto by Antonio Tajani, former president of the European Parliament, after the death of Silvio Berlusconi– and the Salvini League.
In the Chigi palace they are very attentive to the result that Vox can obtain on July 23. Sources from Brothers in Italy are exultant at the possibility that they can enter a government alongside the PP. Also to the autumn elections in Poland, where Law and Justice, the ultra-conservative party in power, is one of the prime minister's great allies on the continent.
The dream of Meloni, the rising star of the European ultra-conservatives, is quite complicated, if not a utopia. Her numbers are not enough, despite her efforts to legitimize herself as a reliable leader in Brussels on both economic and geopolitical issues, having demonstrated her impeccable support for the Ukrainian cause. According to some polls, starting with those of Europe Elects, Meloni's ECR group would continue to be fourth despite increasing parliamentary representation, behind the EPP, the Social Democrats and the Liberals, who would all lose several seats. One of these latest surveys indicates that the sum of popular and conservative would achieve 244 parliamentarians, far from the necessary to elect the president of the Commission. Not to mention that Meloni's ally, the Pole Morawiecki, is insulting Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP, who has blessed the Italian union between the classical right and the Brothers of Italy. “From the east we have the Wagner Group. and from the west, to the Weber Group,” she said recently. The weather is tense. Morawiecki's opponent is Donald Tusk, the former EPP chairman.
“It is clear that the two big parties, the EPP and the Social Democrats, have regressed compared to the past and this conservative right is emerging, but I don't think it can be decisive. In this fight there is a lot of internal competition: it is an opportunity for the Italian parties to differentiate themselves”, says Giovanni Diamanti, founder of the political analysis agency YouTrend.
The Italian prime minister dreams of a conservative wave that displaces the socialists in Brussels
In this scenario, it is unlikely that Meloni will be able to have a strong voice in the distribution of European posts if he does not agree that the ECR looks towards the majority that elected the current president of the Commission. She must study well where to place herself. And this is the game where his ally and rival Matteo Salvini enters, who is already warning him that he only has to take the right into account.
Salvini governs in coalition with the Brothers of Italy not only in the Italian Executive, but in most regions of the country and in multiple municipalities. But in Europe, the League – the Italian party with the most votes in the 2019 elections – is not part of ECR, but of Identity and Democracy (ID), which also includes Le Pen and far-right parties such as Alternative for Germany ( AfD) or the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). ECR, in addition to Brothers of Italy, Vox or Law and Justice, integrates the Sweden Democrats (who give external support to the Swedish Government) or the Finns Party (formerly called True Finns), the ultra-rightists who have just entered the Coalition executive of the conservative Petteri Orpo along with two other minor parties.
Hermanos de Italia is very aware of the result that Vox obtains in the Spanish elections
Both groups share similar views on matters such as their staunch opposition to immigration or their refusal for Europe to gain power over states, but they are deeply divided on other issues. Meloni, for example, wants nothing to do with the AfD because of the pro-Russian view of many of its members. The same separates them from Marine Le Pen. Not to mention the different national interests within each group, starting with the migrant quotas. The Italian premier tried to mediate with Morawiecki and the Hungarian Viktor Orbán (without a group since he left the EPP) to get them to accept the conclusions of the last European Council on migration, but she returned to Rome empty-handed.
“He has a problem, because the two forces of conservatism, Poland and Hungary, which Meloni presumes to lead, are moving away from important common resolutions. Meloni cannot be a guarantor of political formations that obey exclusively national political interests”, points out the professor of political science at La Sapienza Michele Prospero.
The PPE, with Tajani, is already setting its limits. "With the League and Salvini there is no problem, but like Forza Italia and like the EPP it is impossible to make an agreement with the AfD and Mrs. Le Pen's party because they are anti-European forces," he said on television. Salvini, for her part, staged her good relationship with Le Pen, promises that the League will never agree to anything with the Socialists and does not accept "vetos" over its allies. Even in an interview in the Corriere della Sera He demanded that his coalition partners sign that they would never agree with the left.
For Giorgia Meloni it is not good news. In a long-looming electoral campaign, Salvini may become an ally at home, but an opponent in Europe.
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