Italy: conservative support for the far right?
During a visit to Rome Manfred Weber, President of the conservative European People's Party (EPP), has endorsed Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party in its campaign for the Italian parliamentary elections to be held on 25 September. Forza Italia has joined forces with far-right politicians Giorgia Meloni (Fratelli d'Italia) and Matteo Salvini (Lega) to form an alliance that looks set to win. Europe's press is alarmed.
Weber making the far right acceptable
El País is appalled by the outcome of Weber's visit to Rome:
“This precedent opens the door for a national-populist storm that does not bode well for Europe's moderate right. In response to journalists' questions the EPP leader stated merely that he had not found any serious contradictions to his vision of Europe in the coalition's political programme. Weber is forgetting the tensions with Brussels during the 2018 government formed by Matteo Salvini's Lega and the 5-Star Movement. ... The EPP is thus breaking the European consensus about isolating the far right, so clearly exercised for years by Weber's compatriot Angela Merkel vis-à-vis the Alternative for Germany party.”
A boost for the Eurosceptics
If Giorgia Meloni becomes Italian Prime Minister Paris will lose a close ally in the EU, French historian and sociologist Marc Lazar writes in La Repubblica:
“Emmanuel Macron and Giorgia Meloni would bury their past differences, grit their teeth and look for rare points of minimal agreement. Macron is an ardent pro-European while Meloni, despite what she has been saying recently, remains fundamentally Eurosceptic. Far more interested in national sovereignty than in the European sovereignty propagated by the French president, she's more attracted to Warsaw than she is to Paris.”
The Italians deserve better
Philosopher and columnist Bernard-Henri Lévy voices concerns about Meloni's partners in Le Point:
“I had a discussion with Matteo Salvini on Italian TV two years ago. I was expecting a loudmouth, but he struck me more as a mixture between a casino manager from a Scorsese film and a member of the Corleone clan. ... Above all, I was faced with the type of European Putinist who was already letting his relatives pocket roubles and petrodollars in Moscow, and negotiating the future of Italy in vodka-soaked backroom deals. ... The Italians deserve better.”