Italy's shift to the right: Meloni cabinet sworn in

Giorgia Meloni has become Italy's first female prime minister after being sworn into office and handed the symbolic cabinet bell by her predecessor Mario Draghi on Sunday. Meloni's coalition government consists of her post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia party, Matteo Salvini's right-wing populist Lega and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia. Commentators discuss what this pronounced shift to the right means for Europe.

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Kauppalehti (FI) /

This could be a brief adventure

Meloni will have no choice but to bitterly disappoint her voters, Kauppalehti predicts:

“The markets are worried about Italy's ability to pay its debts. Then there are fears that Italy could lose funds from the recovery package. ... This means that despite her strong words sooner or later the new prime minister will have to bow to the will of the Commission and the markets. This will result in a strict austerity policy - precisely what the Italians who voted for the far right in the elections wanted to prevent. Already on Saturday, bankers began betting on the government collapsing. Even the biggest optimists give Meloni no more than six months.”

Népszava (HU) /

Will Meloni and Orbán team up?

The Hungarian PM can only count on limited support from Meloni, Népszava suspects:

“One reassuring piece of news is that Meloni does not pose a threat to the EU's foreign policy. Unlike Hungary, she is not critical of the sanctions. She advocates continued support for Ukraine and she firmly rebukes her coalition partners who flirt with Putin. On ideological issues, however, she appears to stick to her guns, which is unlikely to ease her strained relations with Brussels. However, it is not yet certain that Meloni will create a joint populist platform [as a faction in the EU Parliament] with Viktor Orbán, as this would further constrict her already limited room for manoeuvre.” (DE) /

Europe has cause for concern

The new government is not good news for the EU, fears Jörg Seisselberg, ARD correspondent in Rome, commenting on

“Meloni is still not prepared to sever the political roots of her neo-fascist origins. Instead she recommends a relaxed attitude towards fascism. That is certainly the wrong stance for the prime minister of an EU state to adopt. ... Because our fundamental European values are at stake. As long as Italy's new prime minister does not clarify her position on this point she cannot and should not be treated as a head of government like any other. Berlusconi as prime minister was a problem for Europe. Meloni is an even bigger one.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Most right-wing of the post-war governments, but ...

We should not be too hasty in condemning Meloni, comments Der Standard:

“For the first time since the inglorious end of Silvio Berlusconi's fourth government at the end of 2011, Italy has a purely right-wing government again, probably the most right-wing of the post-war period. How far Meloni will be able to push through her partly ultra-conservative social and family policy ideas remains to be seen. However, she has filled the key portfolios that are of greatest interest to Europe with two personalities who stand for a continuation of the 'Agenda Draghi'. ... Giorgia Meloni and her government were democratically elected - now they should be allowed to govern first and then be judged by their concrete deeds.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

This nation cannot get by without the others

Corriere della Sera discusses Meloni's catchword:

“Giorgia Meloni's key word is nation. She repeated it twice in her very short speech on leaving the presidential palace. ... That's not a problem if the point is to say that Italian unity is indissoluble and that we need a stable coexistence between the north and the south. ... But if the point is to play off the Italian nation - which all or almost all of us love - against the other European nations, then objections are justified. Because in this historical phase, the interests of our nation, which are rightly close to Meloni's heart, can by no means be defended through opposition to Europe. On the contrary.”