In the debate between the leaders of the main Italian parties held on Sunday in CernobbioIn the Como region, the leader of the Italian Brotherhood, Georgia Meloni, stressed the need for Italy to continue to support European sanctions against Russia and remain attached to the European Union and the West, against the “authoritarian governments” of Vladimir Putin. Russia and China, Xi Jinping.
It’s a position Meloni and Fratelli d’Italia have taken since the start of the war in Ukraine, but it’s actually very recent. Until a few years ago, Meloni was often critical of the foreign policy decisions of the United States and the European Union, and expressed great fascination with Putin and Russia. For years, for example, he asked for the lifting of European sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion and annexation of Crimea, which were not recognized by the overwhelming majority of the international community. As did the rest of the European far right at the time.
Some commentators believe that the neo-Atlantic – that is, diligently allied with the West and NATO – and pro-European positions are taken by the brothers of Italy for reasons of expediency, i.e. to show that they are moderate and institutionalized and thus ensure the non-hostile position of Italy’s main international allies, including the European Union and the United States. It is a debate that has developed in recent months above all in the foreign press: first with an analytical article Published by the European edition of Politician then with article hosted by The New York Times Written by activist and political scientist David Browder.
Between 2012, the year of its founding, and at least until 2019, Meloni had defined the political line of the Italian Brotherhood of so-called “sovereignty”: radical nationalism from the point of view of economics and foreign policy, skeptical of large international organizations and traditional Western alliances, intolerant and sometimes conspiratorial Toward certain sectors of society such as money and the media, fascinated by authoritarian experiments and contempt for international law, including above all the experience of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
These were the years following the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008, to which the European far right proposed to respond, in short, with very conservative prescriptions. Italy brothers suggested to Leaving the EurozoneThe European Commission and the European Central Bank have identified “Committee on business and moneylenders”, And the cheers frankly for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Even in those years, Meloni proposed a naval blockade to prevent migrant ships from reaching Italy, a proposal he recently appealed but In a milder form.
Regarding relations with Russia, the line of the Brothers of Italy was quite clear: against European sanctions The massacre that was made in Italy And against the development of the “Cold War climate”, he wrote for example in 2016 when NATO decided to increase its military contingent in Latvia, on the border with Russia.
These are situations very similar to those of Salvini, which are still these days It demands the lifting of sanctions imposed by the European Union Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine. In short, for many years the Brothers of Italy line had little to do with the Atlanticist tradition of the liberal right, and instead was almost indistinguishable from Lega, which had a more visible presence in newspapers and on television. and social networks.
The folly of NATO forces, including the Italians, in Latvia. Renzi reports an unacceptable decision taken without consulting the Italians and Parliament ST pic.twitter.com/rYM9lsWjBt
– Georgia Meloni 🇮🇹 n (Giorgia Meloni) October 14, 2016
It is no coincidence that both Meloni and Salvini were contacted between 2018 and 2019 by Steve Bannon, the former strategist of US President Donald Trump, in his clumsy attempt to form a European coalition of far-right parties. “We who belong to the domain of sovereignty and identity, it is right that we are part of this network,” She said Meloni when Bannon hosted the annual Brothers of Italy meeting in Atrego, in 2018.
Over time, Meloni has distanced himself from Bannon – who was indicted at the same time by fraud And the Anger to Congress – But it continued to deepen its channels with the institutional American right, which clearly restored interest in a rising leader in the Italian political framework.
Meloni participated in three editions of the Conservative Political Action Conference, the main annual conference of the right-wing Republicans, and also the most occasional national prayer breakfast, in 2020. His ties to the Trump-appointed US ambassador to Italy They were known. news site ants Very familiar with what is going on in the Italian right, Note that The Fratelli d’Italia Foundation, FareFuturo, has organized various initiatives with the International Republican Institute (Iri), think tank relating to the Republic of the United States.
in Interview from 2021 with ants Its President for Europe, Thibault Mosergis, has made it clear that he respects Meloni and instead has some doubts about the European party to which Lega belongs, Identità e Democrazia (ID): “Some of them have little sensitivity to transatlantic relations and democracy,” he explained, noting likely To the frank links that had the League and the National Rally, France’s Marine Le Pen party, with Russia until a few months ago.
Since 2021, Meloni has also been a member of the Aspen Institute, a think tank It is a valuable soft power tool for the ruling class in the United States. In parallel, his statements about Russia and Putin are becoming rarer. Summarizes “The FdI’s Atlantic ideal is very present to those who follow Italian politics in Washington” ants.
In the same period, Meloni strengthened relations at the European level with more traditional, conservative environments and worlds, in an effort to move away from the far right. In 2020, she was able to elect herself as chairperson of the European Conservative and Reformist Party (ECR), which brings together in the European Parliament various national parties of the right and the far right considered more moderate and less pro-Russian than Lega and Marine Law. National pen assembly.
At the moment, the most important component of the ECR is Law and Justice, the far-right party that has dominated Polish politics for several years. Meloni also has a personal relationship with the controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Poland and Hungary are semi-authoritarian states, but their leaders and main parties still enjoy some consideration, in the European context, due to their historical anti-communist positions once and anti-Russian and Chinese today (Poland more than Hungary).
In contrast to ID, other European ECR parties are considered sufficiently pro-European to be accepted in institutional office division. In January 2022, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Latvian Roberts Zelle, was elected and secured his votes to elect the new president. Roberta Metsula Maltesewhom Meloni met personally and about whom he speaks a lot well.
The new atlas of Fratelli d’Italia has reached its climax in recent months with parliamentary support for the Italian government’s initiatives in favor of Ukraine, including arms supplies, without expressing doubts as the Lega and the M5S did.
Some commentators believe that Meloni was in some way a process of political maturity that led her to accept more moderate and traditionally institutionalized ideas, identifiable as right-wing but without undemocratic or anti-Western overtones.
However, according to other interpretations, Meloni was a cynical repositioning of herself and her party as moderates willing to rule”, by strengthening her credentials. the currentBrowder books in The New York Times. Meloni, who aspires to become prime minister or the leader of the most powerful party in the ruling coalition anyway, knows very well that if forces considered to be somewhat close to Russia come to power in Italy, a lot of problems and international embarrassment with NATO and the European Union may arise. “She’s an extremist masquerading as a moderate,” he said. Politician Leah Quartabile, deputy chair of the Democratic Party for Foreign Affairs.
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