Thursday

6th Oct 2022

Agenda

Europe braces for far-right Italy This WEEK

  • Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Brothers of Italy, could be the first female prime minister in Italy’s history (Photo: Hermann Tertsch and Victor Gonzalez)
Listen to article

Last week the European Parliament's turn provided the show in the European political scene, presenting EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's energy proposals, declaring Hungary a "hybrid regime", and rushing an official to the top spot.

This week Europe is bracing for the shock of having a far-right leader head the eurozone's third largest countries — which also happens to be one of most indebted.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Italian voters are heading to the polls next Sunday (25 September), and the country's latest far-right sweetheart and their right-wing bloc are on track to win a clear majority according to the latest polls.

The far-right Brothers of Italy party, which dominates the conservative alliance, is set to be the largest single party, and has widened its lead over the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Brothers of Italy, could be the first female prime minister in Italy's history. She is backed by Matteo Salvini's League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia.

The parties could win an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament.

An Ipsos survey — from a week ago, because of a pre-vote polling embargo ––, put Brothers of Italy on 25.1 percent, the PD on 20.5 percent, with left-leaning 5-Star at 14.5 percent and the League on 12.5 percent.

Europe's rightwing forces hope the Italian far-right's triumph could change their fortune and catapult their parties into governments across the EU.

Persistent allegations of Russian connections might change that, although it is unlikely that this will upset the expected outcome in Italy.

The US last week said that Russia has given at least €301m ($300m) to political parties in more than two dozen countries.

Salvini, who once praised Putin as "the best statesmen currently on earth", has repeatedly denied receiving money from Russia.

Meloni also denied receiving cash from abroad, and threatened to sue a newspaper that had questioned if she had taken Russian money, Reuters reported.

Nevertheless, Hungarian media already reported prime minister Viktor Orbán telling supporters in a closed door meeting that he counts on the new Italian government in holding up the rollover of sanctions against Russia in the fall.

Freeze

Speaking of Hungary, the country is facing a freeze in EU funds as the commission proposed on Sunday (18 September) a suspension of subsidies because of consistent concerns over rule of law and corruption.

On rule of law, EU affairs ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss the commission's rule of law report from July.

Ministers are set to focus on justice systems, anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and checks and balances in democracies in the bloc.

Queen gone

On Monday, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will take place in London, and EU Commission president von der Leyen is expected to be present.

On Tuesday (20 September), von der Leyen will be in New York, along with European Council president Charles Michel, at the United Nation's general assembly, where they will meet UN secretary general António Guterres.

Editorial

Background reads: Italy's election

With Italy heading to the ballot boxes this Sunday, let's take a look at what EUobserver has published that can help understand the country's swing to the (far)-right.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden: Nord Stream probe points to 'gross sabotage'
  2. Orbán rails against Russia sanctions at Prague summit
  3. MEPs urge inquiry into Mahsa Amini killing and Iran sanctions
  4. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  5. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  6. Danish general election called for 1 November
  7. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  8. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. What actually happened at the 'most complicated election in the world'?
  2. Europe lays aside quarrels to isolate Putin
  3. Spyware-hacked MEPs still seeking answers
  4. EU leaders discuss gas price cap — amid rationing fear
  5. Germany braces for criticism of national €200bn energy fund
  6. The fossil-fuel agenda behind EU's carbon-capture plans
  7. Four weeks to COP27 — key issues and challenges
  8. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us