With the victory of Giorgia Meloni, Italy could lead an ultra-conservative front in Europe alongside Hungary and Poland, but this alliance will quickly find its limits, especially on the conflict in Ukraine and the attitude towards Russia.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki were the first to celebrate the Italian post-fascist leader’s victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday.
“More than ever, we need friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe,” reacted a spokesman for the Hungarian leader, while Warsaw celebrated the “great victory” of the Italian extreme right.
The coming to power of the extreme right in one of the founding countries of the European Union (EU) should reduce the isolation of Budapest and Warsaw, in open conflict with the European Commission on issues such as the rule of law.
“Hungary and Poland are more than happy with this election”, since “it will allow to reduce the pressure on their countries in the EU and open the way to a more united front”, Yordan Bozhilov, from the Bulgarian think tank Sofia, told AFP. SecurityForum.
After the rise of the extreme right in Sweden in the legislative elections in September, Meloni’s success in the EU’s third largest economy gives wings to ultraconservatives, against Islam, immigrants, abortion or LGBT rights.
“The European right is getting stronger (…) We will defeat the communists, leftists and the LGBT ‘lobby’, all those who ruin our civilization,” Polish Deputy Agriculture Minister Janusz Kowalski said on Twitter on Monday.
The leader of the Italian post-fascist Brothers of Italy party and the leaders of Poland and Hungary also agree on their conception of a Christian, white Europe made up of sovereign nations.
“Hungary and Poland are countries that want to change Europe from within and do not hide it. They have not succeeded so far, but surely they will try to create a Rome/Budapest/Warsaw axis”, according to Tara Varma.
For the expert of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR, for its acronym in English), these three countries do not intend to leave the EU after Brexit , but they can “prevent progress, taking advantage of community funds”. “.
Ukraine and sanctions
But the “values” front could quickly crack over the question of the war in Ukraine and the EU’s policy towards Moscow. “Meloni will have to choose between Poland and Hungary when the time comes,” sums up Tara Varma.
The Italian leader clearly expressed her pro-Ukrainian positions, in favor of European sanctions against Russia and Atlanticist.
This position is close to that of Warsaw, but it is far from that of Orban, who in recent years forged close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and is highly critical of European sanctions against Moscow.
Despite the pro-Russian attitude of his allies Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini, Meloni, whose party dominates the winning coalition in Italy, should not change his position on Ukraine, his partners hope.
“Regarding foreign policy, as far as we know, Meloni is in favor of sanctions against Russia and Brothers of Italy is closer to the Polish PiS than to the Hungarian Fidesz,” estimates the Hungarian analyst Patrik Szicherle.
For Martin Quencez, of the German Marshall Fund, Meloni “sent the good messages about Ukraine” above all to the United States, which has a crucial NATO partner in Italy.
The possible future Italian prime minister “is interested in maintaining good relations with Brussels and not entering into a frontal conflict,” analyzes Paolo Modugno, professor of Italian civilization at the French university Sciences Po.
“She is very aware of the problems of the Italians, of their anguish in the face of inflation and the economic situation. Her urgency is to face the crisis, not to embark on an ideological adventure,” she estimates.
For all analysts, the profile of the future finance and foreign ministers will be a crucial indicator of Meloni’s attitude towards Europe.