Antonio Tajani: “Ursula will be an encore in the EU and I hope Meloni votes for her. No mess”

Antonio Tajani: “Ursula will be an encore in the EU and I hope Meloni votes for her. No mess”

These are intense days of work for Antonio Tajani, both in the scope of domestic and foreign policy.
He recently finished answering Question Time in the Senate. We met him in his office as Deputy Prime Minister in Palazzo Chigi. There are many issues on the table. We cannot help but start with the European ones.

Minister Tajani, the FdI says that there are currently no conditions to vote for von der Leyen. The opposition of the League is well known. On the other hand, you are in favor of Forza Italia. Is there a risk that the parties supporting the government will appear divided in the European Parliament?

“The unity of the centre-right parties in Brussels is not a dogma. Last time we also voted for von der Leyen, FdI and Lega did not. However, we are allies and are in government together. The centre-right coalition is not based on the European vote, where we belong to different political families.”

However, you expected a dialogue between von der Leyen and the conservatives…

“Of course, dialogue is always desirable. But let’s wait, there are still almost two weeks to go.”

So you are still confident that Meloni and FdI can support Von der Leyen?

“Meloni will have to speak as prime minister to identify the portfolio to be given to Italy and the government will have to nominate the commissioner. So I hope that in the end a way will be found for Meloni to vote for von der Leyen. However, it should be noted that it is the FdI that will have to vote in favour in this case. But there is another important aspect.”


«There is no agreement with the Greens».

But there’s the one with the socialists…

“Therefore: we must understand that the European institutions are not the same as the Italian ones. They are different, with governments, with political representatives elected at different times. There is a majority in the Council of Heads of State and Government and then there is another in Parliament. To elect von der Leyen, an agreement was made between heads of state and government. Now we need to find another majority in Parliament to confirm Ursula and elect Roberta Metsola. If we look at the EU as if it were Montecitorio, we will be wrong. Then we consider that no one allies with the far right.”

Is Le Pen also far-right? Germany’s Merz (CDU) praised her distancing herself from the AfD.

“I said that too, it’s a positive thing.”

But will Forza Italia’s no to Le Pen stand?

“Yes, stay. We are with the Gaullists. Let’s be clear, this is a matter for the EPP. That said, whoever wins, as a minister I will speak to those who represent France. But I repeat: if we do not understand how the European system works, we will be making completely incorrect political judgments. Macron did not win the elections in France, but he sits on the Council as President of the Republic.
In Germany, the Socialists did not win, but Scholz is there. Sánchez also got fewer votes in Spain, but he decides in Europe. The majority in the Council is different from the majority in Parliament. We need to combine two majorities. Von der Leyen is the EPP, and the EPP won the elections. I hope he will have a five-year term. Then there is Metsola. Finally, Costa, who will have to be President of the European Council for two and a half years, and then I hope there will be a change with an EPP member.

So the Italian center-right model cannot be exported to Europe?

“The European parties count, the Italian ones don’t. Even if we add up all the elected representatives in Italy, they still represent a tenth of the Parliament. We don’t decide anything alone.”

There are those, like the League, who accuse the EPP of working on an affair with the socialists. What does it say?

“There is no mess, what is mess? The problem is at a national level when it goes against the will of the people. People who do not know how the European mechanisms work speak. I know it is difficult to explain this to him.”

If Le Pen wins in France on Sunday, what will be the consequences in Europe?

“The only consequence I see could be the appointment of the French commissioner.”

As far as the Commission is concerned, what does Italy want?

«A heavy portfolio and a vice-presidency».

Minister Raffaele Fitto’s name is mentioned as European Commissioner, is he in favor?

“If you ask me for advice, I say Fitto. He would be very good, because he knows all the mechanisms. If you don’t know them, you spend five years as an intern.”

President Mattarella warned against the risk of majoritarian absolutism. Salvini responded that the danger is the dictatorship of minorities. Who is right?

“I am of the opinion that there is no need to enter into controversy with the Head of State. I do not comment on his words.”

Are the rumors about Marina Berlusconi wanting a more open Forza Italia in terms of rights true?

«Marina Berlusconi never asked for anything. I would like to emphasize that she never asked me anything about my political stance. She is an entrepreneur whom I greatly respect, and I consider her a friend. Silvio Berlusconi has always been concerned with guaranteeing freedom of conscience on ethical issues, from abortion to euthanasia and de facto couples. Starting from dignity, he started with one principle: the person. In a liberal party that wants to reach 20%, there will be those who are against abortion and those who are in favor, those who will address LGBTQ+ issues more and those who will address them less. We at Forza Italia have never given peremptory orders on these issues.”

How will you get to 20%?

“I want to occupy the space between Meloni and Schlein. I want to reclaim worlds that are waiting for a point of reference that didn’t vote or that perhaps voted previously on the left. The permanent center of gravity, quoting Battiato. Schlein took the Democratic Party very far to the left. There were those who felt out of place, like Caterina Chinnici who came with us. We are also working on a network of civic mayors who can join Forza Italia. If everyone thought we were finished and now we are above 10%, it means there is space.”

The national council of Forza Italia is on Monday. Are you preparing an initiative on Autonomy?

“We will launch the Autonomy Observatory to verify whether differentiated autonomy is applied with criteria of justice and the interests of all Italian citizens are protected, from the Venetians to the Lombards, Calabrians and Campania.”

Do you see a risk of anti-Semitism in Italy?

“You can also be in favor of the Palestinian state, but that doesn’t mean picking on Jews or not allowing Jewish journalists to speak at the university: there is a risk.”

Left-wing motions on recognition of the State of Palestine were rejected in the House…

“I made an amendment to the Democratic Party: we recognize the Palestinian State as long as the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel. They did not accept it.”

Orban proposed a truce to Zelensky. Do you think this is possible?

“That should be the goal, but one cannot think that the solution is Ukraine’s surrender.”

Do you see a solution to the conflict coming soon?

“I’d like to see her up close.”

There is a lot of talk about Joe Biden withdrawing from the US presidential race. What do you think?

“We should not get involved in the affairs of friendly states. We are friends of the United States, which is our main ally internationally. Transatlantic relations are our North Star, we are two sides of the same coin. And the coin is called the West. If I were to link my relationship with the United States to one or the other, this principle would disappear.”

Source: IL Tempo