Wednesday

31st May 2023

EU parliament: Italian far-right rant broke rules

  • European Parliament press room in Strasbourg. Party supporters may come and listen but they are 'not allowed to speak, demonstrate or applaud speakers' (Photo: European Parliament)

The far-right politician and possible next prime minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, should not have been applauded by supporters or asked journalists to leave a press conference, the European Parliament's communication department has said.

"Members and staff are also permitted to attend press conferences, which are a key part of parliamentary work, but they are not allowed to speak, demonstrate, or applaud speakers, and certainly not to threaten or intimidate journalists carrying out their legitimate work," Jaume Duch, the head of the parliament's directorate-general for communication, said in an email to Italian journalists following the incident.

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

  • Salvini at the press conference (Photo: European Parliament)

He wrote one day after Italian journalists had complained to the parliament's president, Antonio Tajani, also from Italy, amid overtures by Salvini's League party (formerly the Northern League) to form a government with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement following recent elections.

The complaint, by six Italian EU correspondents, related to Salvini's press conference in the EU parliament press room in Strasbourg on Tuesday (13 March).

Salvini, an MEP, at one point, accused journalists of "pumping out the propaganda of the European Union" and his supporters in the room applauded his words.

Duch told the Italian journalists to express his "sincerest regrets" for what took place and said that the Europe of National and Freedom (ENF) group, to which Salvini's party belongs, had broken the EU assembly's code.

"The behaviour of those non-journalists present in the press room as well as the conduct of the press conference by the ENF group was in breach of our rules governing use of the press room and a flagrant disrespect for the work and integrity of the journalists present," Duch said.

He said his office had complained in writing to the ENF group.

"We were assured, in their reply, that steps would be taken to avoid such a situation being repeated and that members of the ENF group would be reminded of the rules in force in parliament's press room," Duch said.

"We will closely monitor ENF press conferences in the future for compliance with the rules and respect for the role of the press and examine any additional measures as may be necessary," he added.

Anti-EU coalition 'is possible'

Meanwhile, it is uncertain how often Salvini will return to the EU parliament's press room.

After the Italian elections earlier this month, in which his party won 17.7 percent of the votes, the MEP is eyeing a position in a new Italian government, possibly even prime minister.

He said on Wednesday that his party would team up with anybody, except with the outgoing ruling Democratic Party (PD), opening the door for a eurosceptic coalition with the Five Star Movement, which won 32.2 percent of the votes.

"Barring the PD, everything is possible," said Salvini.

"Before we talk about who, let's talk about what, let's pursue a programme centred on the people outside the corridors of power," he said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Italians vote in election dominated by migration and EU

Sunday's election outcome, under a new system, remains uncertain and is likely to result in uneasy coalitions between parties with conflicting views on how to deal with migrants and play a senior role in Europe.

EU: 'Keep Calm', as Italy struggles to form government

Both the leaders of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League party claim the position of Italian prime minister, amid renewed eurosceptics remarks while Europe is waiting for a stable government.

Italy votes to become more eurosceptic

A hung parliament is expected, as preliminary results show a good outcome for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League.

Call for 'neutral' government fails to end Italy's deadlock

The leaders of the two main political parties want elections in July, despite fears of low turnout and prolonging the uncertainty. EU officials are worried that a prolonged political uncertainty would further weaken the Italian economy.

Column

What a Spanish novelist can teach us about communality

In a world where cultural clashes and sectarianism seems to be on the increase, Spanish novelist Javier Cercas (b.1962) takes the opposite approach. He cherishes both life in the big city and in the countryside.

Opinion

Poland and Hungary's ugly divorce over Ukraine

What started in 2015 as a 'friends-with-benefits' relationship between Viktor Orbán and Jarosław Kaczyński, for Hungary and Poland, is ending in disgust and enmity — which will not be overcome until both leaders leave.

Latest News

  1. Germany unsure if Orbán fit to be 'EU president'
  2. EU Parliament chief given report on MEP abuse 30 weeks before sanction
  3. EU clashes over protection of workers exposed to asbestos
  4. EU to blacklist nine Russians over jailing of dissident
  5. Russia-Ukraine relations the Year After the war
  6. Why creating a new legal class of 'climate refugees' is a bad idea
  7. Equatorial Guinea: a 'tough nut' for the EU
  8. New EU ethics body and Moldova conference This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us