Debt, migration or Russia: what is at stake in the EU if the extreme right returns to govern in Italy

“Mussolini was a good politician, the best of the last 50 years. Everything he did, he did for Italy.” With 19 years, Giorgi MeloniThus he described the fascist dictator. 25 years later, the leader of the Brothers of Italy is about to become the first woman with the baton of Palazzo Chigi, leading the first far-right Executive since Benito Mussolini.

The post-fascist leader, who has tried to tone down and sweeten her image during the campaign, is projected as the undisputed winner of this Sunday’s elections. The polls give him 25% of the votes. The extreme right of Brothers of Italy is escorted by the ultras of the League, which leads Matteo Salviniand by the right-wing Forza Italia, patrolled by the omnipresent transalpine politician Silvio Berlusconi. The great unknown is whether the coalition will win a two-thirds majority in Parliament, which would allow it to push through a constitutional change.

The elections that take place on Sunday in the third economy of the European Union worry, and a lot, in Brussels. And they arrive at the worst possible moment: with exorbitant inflation, with the first throes of the energy crisis, with the recrudescence of the war in Ukraine or with the Hungary of Víktor Orbán threatening to veto future sanctions on Russia.

In unusual remarks reproduced at Princeton University, Ursula von der Leyenpresident of the European Commission, has stated that if things go “in the wrong direction” after the elections, Brussels has different tools, as has been shown with Hungary and Poland, in reference to the fact that the illiberal tandem has not yet received or one euro from recovery funds.

These words have already generated the first clash between the German and Salvini, who aspires to return to the Councils of the EU after his brief tenure in 2018, when Italy became the first founding member state of the European project governed by Eurosceptic forces (the Movement 5 Stars and the League). “What is this, a threat? Arrogance and shame. Respect for the free, democratic and sovereign vote of the Italian people,” the leader of the League has reproached through Twitter.


God, country and family make up his political DNA. “Yes to the natural family. No to the lobby LGBT. Yes to sexual identity. No to gender ideology. Yes to the culture of life. Not to the abyss of death. Yes to the universality of the cross. No to Islamist violence. Yes to secure borders. No to mass immigration. Yes to the sovereignty of the peoples. No to the Brussels bureaucrats,” Meloni shouted at a rally in support of Vox prior to the Andalusian elections. His group shares ranks with those of Abascal in the European Parliament under the umbrella of the Conservative and Reform family.

His campaign slogan has been “Let’s defend ItalyLike the ultra-nationalist forces in Europe, reinforced after the 2015 refugee crisis, their message lies in hatred of the other and in presenting migrants, especially Muslims, as a threat to European societies and economies. They lead their own war of civilizations.”Christianity is Europe’s last hope,” said Víktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, in 2018.


The markets await with expectation the development of events in the transalpine country. The technocrat who saved the euro, mario draghi, gives way to inexperienced and unpredictable politics. All eyes are on who will be elected finance minister. But experts agree that the ultra leader has too much at stake to risk in the economic and financial arena.

With more than 190,000 million euros, Italy is the country with the most funds allocated under the European Recovery Plan. And the Italian public debt is close to being uncontrollable: it could end the year in the 148%. The one who is projected as the new prime minister has in her interest that the flow of money continues to circulate from Brussels, as well as sending a reassuring signal to the markets. Her first big challenge will be to agree on next year’s budgets, which must be sent to the European Commission in mid-October.


Regarding Russia and Putin, Meloni has been changing her skin. For the past several years she had shown admiration for her to the Russian president and celebrated the “good democratic health” of Moscow. But with the war she has pulled pragmatism to not go against the international community and to establishment Italian. In the preliminary political agreement with his, two natural allies of his made sure to send the message that his government would be on the side of NATO against the invader, Russia.

But the seams can jump within the plausible tripartite coalition. Salvini is a declared admirer of Putin. Y Silvio Berlusconi, a close friend of the tenant of the Kremlin, has removed his mask two days before the elections. With the “special military operation”, Putin’s goal was “simply to replace the Zelensky government with a Government of good people“, has pointed out the leader of Forza Italia on national television.

Berlusconi belongs to the European People’s Party, which has blessed his deal with far-right forces. Their leader, Manfred Weber, claimed that they share the same basic values. Following the former prime minister’s statements, the popular Europeans have been forced to react to confirm their support for Ukraine against “the illegal war”. Those of Meloni, a party with fascist roots, openly present themselves as an anti-LGTBi, anti-immigration and anti-European formation. The complacency of the largest family in the European Parliament puts the popular against the ropes of an experiment that they already tasted in the past with Orbán’s Fidesz. And it went wrong.

Notice to navigators

The polls in Italy come months after 43% of the French voted for Marine Le Pen. And just a few days after the extreme right Sweden Democrats became the second most supported party in the country. “Individually, these electoral results are painful. But together they can have catastrophic effects for Europe”, analyzes the German MEP from The Greens Damian Boeselager. The Italy thing is a warning to sailors in future changes of seats in Bulgaria and Denmark.

But Italian is not just another case. The country is the third leg of the Eurozone and brings together 14% of the voting power in the Council around decisions made by majority. In those in which the EU needs unanimity, such as fiscal policy or foreign policy, the Executive led by Meloni will be able to veto and block decisions in the style of what Víktor Orbán already does, who will add an ally in his affront against “the Brussels bureaucrats. The EU will face more obstacles in defending the rule of law at a time when the authoritarian drifts in Budapest and Warsaw pose the greatest internal challenge to its future and existence.

The far-right has learned from the mistakes of its sister parties in other capitals. Her message is no longer to destroy Europe or promote an Italexit, but to change the EU from within. That is, weaken it from within the house to make it a “Union of Sovereign Peoples” made in his image and likeness.


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