Meloni wants to unite the European right

The Italian prime minister wants to follow Italy's domestic blueprint to smooth out differences between right-wing parties across Europe

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, right, is greeted by, from left, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, European Council President Charles Michel and Belgium's King Philippe during a reception at the Royal Palace prior to an EU summit in Brussels, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

In an interview on Monday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reiterated her mission to unite the European right-wing parties, a move that follows the more conciliatory words of French National Rally leader Marine Le Pen the previous day, made against the backdrop of a European right that does not always see eye to eye.

“We are focusing on the person of the president of the European Commission, but the real challenge is to build a different majority from the one we have seen in the last five years, which is an unnatural majority between the European People’s Party and the Socialists,” Meloni said on the Canale 5 television program “Mattino Cinque News,” founded by the late former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Ahead of the vote that may change the balance of power in the EU, Meloni outlined a plan for the next European legislature: a merger of Europe’s right-wing parties.

“I am trying to repeat in Europe what has been achieved in Italy: to unite parties with compatible ideas, despite the fact that they have completely different nuances… and send the left into opposition,” she explained.

Analysts believe these statements could point to a possible alliance between the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) parliamentary group, in which the likes of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI), Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS), and Spain’s Vox sit, and the Identity and Democracy (ID) group to which Matteo Salvini’s Lega and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally are affiliated.

On Sunday, at a conference organized by VOX in Madrid, the leader of the National Rally struck a more conciliatory tone with Meloni, a sharp shift from previous statements. “There are common points with Meloni,” Le Pen said on Sunday.

“It’s not about individuals, it’s about freedom. Meloni and Salvini care about freedom,” she added.

These comments mark a sharp turnaround from just two months ago, when Le Pen criticized Meloni at an event organized by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in Rome, saying: “Tell us clearly whether you support Ursula von der Leyen for the presidency of the Commission because we will never do that.”

After initially showing openness to von der Leyen’s nomination, Meloni has recently avoided a direct response.

In the interview, Meloni stated that the challenge for Europe today is to “take back control of its destiny, focus on fewer things and do them better. In recent years the EU has dictated what we can and cannot eat, what cars we can and cannot drive.”

“This, in my view, is a restriction on the freedom of individuals and nation-states that must be reversed. The EU can and should set targets, but then it is up to the nation-states to decide how to achieve them,” she added.

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