Pontida vs Lampedusa: Why is the Salvini-Le Pen deal a problem for Meloni?

There are still nine months until the European elections in June 2024. However, Matteo Salvini decided to break the deadlock first and start a long election campaign with his main ally in Europe, Marine Le Pen, starting with Pontida. , next to him. Until a few months ago there was a certain wait-and-see attitude within the Lega, now the direction is clear: attack Brussels and the majority that governs the EU, starting with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. To show voters what the real right to struggle is. And regain the consensus lost in recent years. An approach that is already troubling Forza Italia, where Ursula is an integral part of the majority, and could create many problems for Giorgia Meloni, who is increasingly getting closer to the German leader, as seen first in Tunisia and then in Lampedusa. .

Crisis after 2019 victory

More than 4 years have passed since the last European elections, but for Salvini it seems like an eternity has passed: in 2019, polls declared victory for the League, which received a third of the votes and brought a patrol of 28 MPs to the Parliament. The EU Parliament has become the majority shareholder for the first time in the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, which is considered home to European sovereigntists. But for Meloni, things turned out like this: Just over 6% of the preferences and 5 MPs in total joined the ECR, a group of European conservatives led by the Nasty Poles.

Since then, Meloni has managed to grow his team with additions from the League itself, Forza Italia and M5s, increasing the number of patrols to 9 MEPs. If current polls are confirmed next June, the size of the FDI delegation could triple. On the contrary, Salvini has lost some parliamentarians along the way and has recently had to face internal criticism from those who want a new parliamentary reshuffle (in line with the consensus loss of the Northern League, which today shows just under 10%). The EPP, of which Fi is also a member and which has been courting the Italian prime minister for a while, opened the way to get closer to Carroccio.

Dialogue between conservatives and popular ones

It is no coincidence that before and during this summer, when good relations between Meloni and EPP leader Manfred Weber led to the hypothesis of a possible alliance between the two, Salvini also expressed a desire, perhaps despite himself, to establish a dialogue with the People’s Party. Party. On the other hand, Italy provides a model in this regard, given that the majority in Palazzo Chigi includes all three spirits of the European centre-right: moderates, conservatives and certainly sovereigntists. However, there are important differences between Rome and Brussels. Starting from the numbers needed to run the EU Parliament to the political situation in Germany and France.

The Union’s readiness for dialogue with the EPP immediately became dependent on the breakdown of the agreement between the People’s Party, the Liberals and the Social Democrats, that is, the historic European governing alliance. Such a possibility is, first of all, contrasted with the numbers: even according to the best forecasts, the centre-right alone will not reach the seats needed to gain a majority in the European Parliament. To do this, he must rely on the support of Renew Europe liberals, the reference group of French President Emmanuel Macron (and Renzi and Calenda in Italy).

sanitary cord

Bringing Le Pen and Macron together is the stuff of political fiction, and for the trans-Alpine leader (but not only for himself) the sanitary cordon built by Europe’s leading political powers around his arch-rival (and the entire ID group) is also a is the solution. keep him away from the Elysée. A similar speech was made by the Union’s other important ally in Brussels, the far-right party AfD, which is seen by Germany’s centre-left as a risk to democracy and by the People’s Party as an enemy to be avoided. .

Salvini has long known that he has uneasy allies in Europe who prevent him from entering Brussels’ control rooms. Therefore, his readiness for dialogue with the EPP appeared to be the result of a tactical calculation, not an intention to follow the Meloni-Weber duo. Bringing Le Pen to Pontina was the tombstone of such hypotheses. And it served to launch an election campaign not only against the European establishment, but also against his government colleagues in Rome. Positioning itself as the only real alternative to Europe, which has left Italy alone in the face of the migrant crisis and aims to impoverish businesses and families with its Green Deal, could mean an increase in consensus at the expense of Meloni and Fdi.

Pontida vs Lampedusa

The photographs of Salvini and Le Pen in Pontida and Meloni and von der Leyen in Lampedusa are, in a way, completely symbolic of the electoral battle on the Italian right. Whether this challenge will have concrete repercussions on the government remains to be seen in the coming months. The first serious conflicts over immigrants are already being reported. Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani warned his League counterpart: “We don’t need to worry too much about the European elections, we don’t need to worry about solving the problems. Otherwise the election campaign becomes a competition to see who can shoot harder.” If Meloni weaves a web of diplomacy with Brussels with the support of Forza Italia, Salvini will be backed against the wall.

The Northern League leader wants to regain the consensus lost since 2019 and maintain his leadership of the party after his government experiences with 5 Star and Draghi. But it is sad to think that he has given up on his view of Europe. Le Pen may one day become president of France. And dialogue with the AfD, which today leads the polls in its home country, is no longer taboo for many German popular groups. With sovereignists in command in Paris and Berlin, the security cordon in Europe could be broken. Today, we are finally opening the doors that seemed to open to Meloni to Salvini.

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Source: Today IT