Italy, EU face ‘big risk’ of potential far-right victory: ex-PM

by | Aug 30, 2022 | World

A victory for Italy’s far-right parties in September 25 elections would present a “big risk” to the EU, the country’s former prime minister and Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta warned in an interview with the AFP news agency.The alliance comprising Giorgia Meloni‘s post-fascist Brothers of Italy, Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia is polling at more than 46 percent ahead of the vote, compared with about 30 percent who back Letta and his left-wing allies.
Italy “runs a big risk if it puts itself in the hands of friends of Trump and Putin”, said Letta, referring to Meloni’s admiration of former US president Donald Trump and Salvini and Berlusconi’s ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
This was also a risk for the European Union, as “there has never been a major European country governed by political forces so clearly against the idea of a community of Europe”, the 56-year-old said at his party’s headquarters in central Rome.
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By contrast, for the Democratic Party, “our idea of Europe is an idea of cooperation, of solidarity, of decisions taken by the majority, without someone like [Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor] Orban every time using his veto and blocking decisions”.
The right-wing coalition has pledged to press for reform of the EU and, more immediately, to revise Italy’s plans for spending nearly 200 billion euros ($200bn) in post-pandemic recovery funds.
Letta is disparaging: “As if that money was Italian money and we could afford to argue and debate with Brussels when instead it is European money we have negotiated with Brussels.”
Populism calmed
Letta was the Democratic Party’s prime minister for 10 months bet …

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