Meloni’s anti-EU agitation: a “hoax” or a real threat?

Meloni’s anti-EU agitation: a “hoax” or a real threat?

BrusselsItaly’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was received with some skepticism in Brussels, but was quickly accepted as another one of its great leaders. From the beginning, he maintained a very good relationship with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the EU ended up adopting, for example, the migration policies that he advocated. In addition, after the electoral defeats of Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz in the European elections, she became one of the most powerful leaders on the continent.

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However, she has felt marginalized in negotiations between heads of state and government over who will fill the next top positions in the EU, prompting her to attack more forcefully than ever against the European bloc since it came to power. “The European Union is an invasive bureaucratic giant,” Meloni said in the Italian parliament on Wednesday.

He even threatened to destabilize the management of the Community Club, recalling that the agreement between the Conservatives, Social Democrats and Liberals had a “fragile majority”. “[La coalició] The Italian far-right warned on the eve of the meeting between European leaders to ratify the next high-level officials in the European Union: “He is likely to face difficulties during the period when the Legislative Council is in session.”

However, sources close to the negotiations indicate that the majority in the European Council to ratify von der Leyen as President of the European Commission, Antonio Costa as President of the European Council, and Kaja Kallas as EU High Representative, is too loose and Meloni is not weight enough to beat it. In fact, approval of these names does not require the consensus of the twenty-seven, but rather a qualified majority. That is, about three-quarters of the member states that represent at least 65% of the bloc’s population.

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A few hours before the European Council convenes on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, only four countries are opposing the leaders at the table: Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, according to various diplomatic sources. Therefore, the green light given by the European Council to von der Leyen, Costa and Kalas is not in danger, no matter how much Meloni opposes it. For this reason, sources close to the negotiations confirm that despite Rome’s threats, it does not see the need to surrender to the rebukes of the Italian far right.

Von der Leyen prepares for the European Parliament rehearsal

Although von der Leyen does not need Meloni’s presence in the European Council to re-verify her mandate, she has greater support in the European Parliament, where it is also scheduled to be ratified on July 17. It goes without saying that the coalition of conservatives, social democrats and liberals will reach a majority, but the voting discipline in the European Chamber is not very strict, and there are MEPs from these three families who have already said that they do not intend to vote for it.

For this reason, MEPs from Meloni’s party, the Brothers of Italy, could be key for von der Leyen, who for the first time showed her willingness to break the cordon with the far right and has already reached out to them. In this sense, the German conservative is already trying to seduce the Italian far right, which aspires to hold an important portfolio in the next European Commission related to the economy or competitiveness.

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This Wednesday, for example, von der Leyen made a new gesture to Meloni and sent a letter to the G27 in which he opens the door to finding “innovative ways” to manage illegal migration and gives an implicit example of Italy’s agreement with Albania. In other words, reaching agreements with non-EU countries that, in exchange for large sums of money, stop new arrivals from entering the EU bloc or keep them in detention centers until their bureaucratic status is resolved.

In fact, a few days before the European elections last June 9, a group of fifteen countries, including Italy, asked von der Leyen to go beyond immigration reform, which was agreed at the end of last year and still remains to be seen. now. They were even deployed, studying the possibility of deporting migrants rescued at sea to centers outside the European Union while their asylum claims were not resolved.

Whatever the case, European Council sources indicate that during the meeting on Thursday and Friday, an attempt will be made to reach an agreement on the next main positions that is as unanimous as possible, and includes Italy, the Czech Republic and Italy. And Slovakia, although the green light of Hungary Viktor Orbán, who always swims against the tide of the rest of the partners, has already been almost lost. In addition, both von der Leyen and Meloni are not interested in dismantling ties: the German conservative fears they will be needed in the European Parliament, and the Italian far right wants to secure Italy’s share of power in the European Commission.

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Zelensky is expected to attend

Meanwhile, it appears that the European Summit, which will be held next Thursday and Friday in Brussels, will host a special guest again. Aside from the 27 heads of state and government who meet regularly, they are also expected to receive Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky, who will be attending the European Council for the second time since the beginning of the war. This would essentially be another symbolic gesture of support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, just days after the European Union did so Opening accession negotiations with Kyiv.

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