Europe Takes a Look at Meloni With Care and Nervousness.
Giorgia Meloni is likely to be the country’s first far-right leader since Mussolini. She says she supports Ukraine and has softened her harsh views on Europe, but her partners raise doubts.
Giorgia Meloni, a leader of the far-right and a Euroskeptic who once wanted to get rid of the euro currency, won the Italian election on Sunday. This sent a tremor through the European establishment on Monday, which was worried about a new shift to the right in Europe.
Even though Ms. Meloni, who would be the first far-right nationalist to lead Italy since Mussolini, says she has changed her views, European Union leaders are still worried about her coalition’s easy win in Italy, which is one of the EU’s founding members.
But they can’t help but feel a little scared. Even though the bloc has been able to agree on a groundbreaking pandemic recovery fund and stand up to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in recent years, the appeal of nationalists and populists is still strong and growing, which could be a threat to the ideals and unity of Europe.
The far-right Sweden Democrats became the second largest party in the country earlier this month. They are also expected to be the largest party in a right-wing coalition.
High national debt and skyrocketing inflation have done a lot of damage to center-ground parties all over Europe because of Covid and the war in Ukraine. Charles A. Kupchan, an expert on Europe at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that far-right parties have not only pushed center-right parties to the right, but they have also become “normalized” and are no longer looked down upon.
“The direction of political momentum is changing. Before and during the pandemic, there was a wave of centrism, but now it seems like the political table is tilting back toward right-wing populists,” he said. “And that’s very important.”
Under the technocratic Mario Draghi, who is now stepping down as prime minister, Italy played an important role in a Europe with weak leadership, both on important economic issues and how to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But now Italy has moved away from the rest of Europe.