Next stop: Germany. After recording a video message in English, French and Spanish, Giorgia Meloni also gave an interview to the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. It’s part of a media strategy aimed at reassuring European partners in light of the very real possibility that her party, Brothers of Italy, will lead Italy’s next government. Here’s a thematic breakdown.
On foreign policy. “The historical cornerstones of Italian foreign policy – Europe and the Atlantic Alliance – are the very first point of our programme,” she explained. She also noted that Ukraine’s territorial integrity isn’t the only element at stake in the ongoing conflict; the attempt to establish a new world order led by Russia and China depends on it, too.
- “If Ukraine loses and the West succumbs, the highest price will be paid by us Europeans who in recent years have not invested enough in our security, both in military and energy terms.”
On her conservative positioning. Brothers of Italy “is the party of Italian conservatives,” she told the German paper. “We believe in the freedom of the person and the centrality of the family, in Italian, European and Western cultural identity, in private initiative and social solidarity.”
- Ms Meloni also underscored her role as the leader of the European Conservatives party, which includes two prime ministers (in Poland and the Czech Republic) and “boasts important collaborations with the British Tories, the American Republicans and the Israeli Likud.”
On European solidarity. As for the EU’s support for the countries most affected by the sanctions against Russia, and those dependent on Russian gas, such as Italy and Germany, the PM hopeful said her calls for greater solidarity had gone unheard.
- “Clearly, sanctions do not impact everyone in the same way. We urgently need greater solidarity with the most affected economies, both for economic reasons and to avoid the waning of public support for the firm stance against Russian aggression. That is why I have proposed a compensation fund provided by the EU and the entire Western bloc, led by the US. Our government would be ready to collaborate with the German government on this issue.”
The right scare. The prospect of Italy being led by a centre-right coalition, together with the strong presence of Brothers of Italy, “somewhat frightens” Germany, explained Giovanni di Lorenzo, editor of the German weekly Die Zeit, in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa. However, he argued that fear is being diminished by Germany’s internal discussions (on the issues of energy and inequality), the holidays, “and above all, the German government’s unwillingness to meddle in a campaign where even the most trivial intervention can be categorised as interference by foreign powers.”
- Responding to a question about Ms Meloni’s condemnation of fascism and racial laws – one of the key passages in her multilingual message – Mr di Lorenzo said the message had certainly been picked up in Germany.
- He added that her tones and content are more moderate than those of Germany’s far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD). Still, everything that concerns the fascist or Nazi past, even in a sweetened version, is always viewed with great alarm in Germany.
- “The other day, in an interview with Faz, [Ms] Meloni called Brothers of Italy a conservative party and declared herself ‘not anti-German.’ This, too, can be read as a conciliatory message.”