MOSCOW, November 28 – RIA Novosti, Mikhail Katkov. Western media compare Italian Prime Minister Giorgi Meloni with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Given who is leading the other EU countries, the Italian has a chance to become the new leader of a united Europe. But first it is necessary to fend off accusations of fascism.
Merkel has been called the “eternal chancellor”: she ruled Germany for almost 16 years. A native of the “eternal city” Meloni can only dream of such a thing. Although the biographies are very similar – with a difference, the Italian climbed the career ladder much faster.
Both entered male-dominated politics early. Merkel became a minister at the age of 36 and Meloni at the age of 31. They are also the first representatives of the “weaker sex” at the head of their country’s governments.
The former Chancellor of Germany was born in Germany, grew up in East Germany, trained as a chemist and entered science, not forgetting politics – he worked as a secretary of agitation and propaganda in a Komsomol organization. Merkel was not taken seriously for a long time. She was called “the milkmaid” even when she was head of the Ministry of Women’s and Youth Affairs. But Angela wasn’t afraid to come into conflict with the leadership if the situation required it.
Meloni joined the far-right youth movement in her youth and became a member of the Rome City Council at the age of 21. He soon joined Silvio Berlusconi. Thanks to her support, she became the youngest woman in the Italian parliament in 2006. And two years later, Berlusconi became Minister of Youth Affairs.
However, the paths of the two prime ministers diverge here. Merkel has always been the symbol of a united and independent Europe, while Meloni represents a club mostly made up of supporters from the United States. The fact is that after the fall of Mussolini’s fascist regime, the Italian far-right traditionally focused on Washington – only the Americans could help in the fight against the communists, who were quite popular in Italy until the collapse of the USSR. Then the Communist Party was reborn as “Democratic”, completely abandoning Marxism, but Duce’s supporters inertly remained loyal to the Americans.
So it’s no coincidence that Meloni, as a young woman, opposed the Summer Olympics in Beijing on the pretext of violating human rights in Tibet. In 2019, he criticized Italy for being the first major industrialized European state to join the China Belt and Road Initiative. In 2022, before the parliamentary elections, the future prime minister promised to challenge the expansion of China and Russia in Europe by linking Italy’s independence to Ukraine’s independence.
Conquest of Europe
Italy is the third economy of the European Union. Meloni claims that he will make the country the leader of the EU, which, in his opinion, should turn into a “free economic union”. He also sees French President Emmanuel Macron as a politician who lost his power after the last parliamentary elections. And according to the Italian, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is too insecure to lead Europe.
However, before he becomes the new Merkel, the prime minister must prove that he is not the new Mussolini. Even before the elections, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned that if Rome didn’t want to support the values of the European Union, Brussels would treat it like Poland or Hungary – freeze slices and fine. Therefore, assuming the post of head of government, Meloni first went to Brussels so that he would not doubt the loyalty of European bureaucrats. They liked it. As von der Leyen put it, it was a “strong signal”.
Still, Meloni’s views contradict EU values. Rome, in particular, is preparing to resolutely fight immigrants from Africa. The day after the Prime Minister’s visit to Brussels, Italian authorities announced that the German-flagged rescue ship Humanity 1, carrying refugees off the coast of Sicily, would be sent to international waters. The French Ocean Viking, with 234 illegal immigrants on board, was not taken into port for two weeks.
Since the beginning of 2022, more than 90,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea, of which about 15,000 have been picked up by rescue vessels. At the same time, other EU countries are not in a hurry to help Rome with the distribution of people. However, the brutality and intransigence that the Meloni team began to act on caused a barrage of criticism from France, Germany and Spain.
march to EU
Experts interviewed by RIA Novosti are confident that despite the potential, Meloni will not be able to repeat Merkel’s success and become one of the leaders of the European Union. Most likely, both the situation in Italy and the specifics of the EU will intervene.
“One of the main challenges for Meloni is illegal immigration. The European Union cannot find a balance between human rights and the security of its own citizens. Italy was the first transit point for immigrants from Africa, but they are increasingly choosing it lately. IMEMO RAS European Political Studies Department “Stay in this country and don’t go anywhere else,” says its president, Nadezhda Arbatova.
Matteo Salvini, Meloni’s former partner in the ruling coalition, tried hard to stem the flow of migrants, but faced resistance from the European Union and was forced to withdraw. He was even tried for creating a humanitarian disaster, but was later acquitted. Regardless, while the integration of illegal immigrants into Italian society takes place with great difficulty. Among other things, visitors violate the traditional lifestyle of local people – there is a lot of garbage on the streets, crime is on the rise.
“If Meloni acts against the norms of the European Union, Italy may be deprived of the financial assistance needed to get out of the pandemic crisis. Accordingly, the prime minister will act cautiously,” Arbatova explains.
But even if Brussels evades its sanctions and manages immigrants, it will face problems in its own cabinet. “The average lifespan of a coalition Italian government is one and a half to two years. No matter how successful the team is, its members are constantly cursing because of political ambitions. The coalition led by Meloni is no exception – cracks are already visible. They grow over time,” – expert notes.
Alexei Kuznetsov, head of the Center for European Studies, believes that the coming to power of a far-right prime minister in Italy will not fundamentally change the European Union.
“All major states affect the EU to some extent, especially during the transformation of the world order. Italy is no exception. It is possible that refugees begin to disperse a little differently between countries, but no more. Even the entry of new members, Kuznetsov states that talking about rebirth does not affect organisation. .
It is also not worth waiting for the unification of Eurosceptics from Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Hungary and other countries. Unlike the Greens and Social Democrats, the right is always very difficult to interact with. “The nationalists have a negative attitude towards the idea of a common European home and do not understand why alliances should be made on this platform,” the expert said.
Italy, for example, is dissatisfied with the fact that it has to “feed the freeloaders” – moreover less developed EU partners like Poland, which pursues a policy contrary to the interests of Europe’s core.
I’m Harold O’Connor and I work as an author and editor for News Unrolled, a news website dedicated to delivering the latest world events. With my in-depth research skills, passion for news writing, and keen eye for detail, I strive to provide readers with accurate information on current affairs from around the globe.