Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Will Salvini joining Patriots for Europe rock the Italian government?

Must read

Far-right League party joining Patriots for Europe has raised concerns about Italy’s coalition stability, as the move complicates PM Meloni’s relationships with allies due to differing stances on the EU and NATO.


The recent decision by Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega, or League party to join Viktor Orbán’s new bloc Patriots for Europe has raised a few eyebrows in Italy and with that, the question of whether Italy’s current ruling coalition will hold.

The group now ranks as the European Parliament’s third-largest, overtaking the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) after Spain’s Vox party also left the group led by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Reports in the Italian media suggest Salvini’s move didn’t go down well with Meloni, describing her as even more isolated. Back home, she now has to deal with an ally who has teamed up with a political group that has opposing views on the EU’s support for Ukraine and relations with NATO.

On the other hand, her ambiguous support for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also risks straining her relationship with Italy’s Deputy PM Antonio Tajani, who leads Forza Italia, a party aligned with the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) group in the Parliament.

‘An opportunity, not an obstacle’

For now, Italy’s PM has chosen to remain low-profile, and the Brothers of Italy have told Euronews that they are not making any statements on the issue. Salvini’s League.

According to Paolo Borchia, League’s head at the European Parliament, the party’s recent affiliation with Patriots for Europe poses no risks to the stability of the Italian government.

“There is nothing wrong in having different opinions on certain European issues among right-wing parties,” Borchia said.

“On the contrary, it’s an enriching opportunity rather than an obstacle. This government has earned the trust of the Italian people, and it’s only fair that it continues to do its job. When it comes to European dynamics, these will have repercussions that will not destabilize the government.” he told Euronews.

Forza Italia, while reiterating its support for the government recently bolstered by its European election results in June, believes Orbán’s new political group won’t be as powerful as it might seem.

“As explained by the leader of Forza Italia, Tajani, Patriots for Europe’s role will be irrelevant in the next European Parliament,” says MP Alessandro Battilocchio, adding that the government remains ready to deliver on its main political promises.

Addressing divisive issues such as the war in Ukraine, Borchia pointed out the importance of distinguishing between goals and means of achieving them.

The League has consistently found common ground with coalition partners on the government’s EU-related approaches to the conflict. “There can be differences,” he explained, “in the approaches and the ways used to end the conflict.”

‘Salvini cannot challenge Meloni’

Professor Lorenzo Castellani of Luiss University in Rome suggested Salvini lacks the political leverage to significantly challenge Meloni’s leadership or kick off a government crisis.

“He hasn’t got enough power to undermine either Giorgia Meloni’s leadership or enough electoral support to trigger snap elections or a government crisis,” Castellani told Euronews.

With the emergence of Patriots for Europe, Castellani believes that as her influence in Brussels grows, Meloni will be faced with a make-it-or-break-it decision regarding her alignment with the union’s priorities.

However, Borchia thinks otherwise. “She doesn’t deserve all this credit,” he said.

Latest article