Giorgia Meloni is poised to become the next Italian prime minister. Read experts comment on the foreign policy implications from the European Council on Foreign Relations
The centre-right coalition won Sunday’s general election in Italy, with Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni looking poised to become Italy’s first female prime minister thanks to the strong showing of her right-wing coalition.
Here are some takeaways from ECFR experts on the foreign policy implications of Italy’s general election.
Arturo Varvelli, Head of ECFR’s Rome office:
- The Italian elections provided a clear result. The centre-right has a majority in both houses. Now the focus is on Giorgia Meloni and her European policy. She can continue to align with [Hungarian PM Viktor] Orbán or take a more institutional and moderate path and pursue a conservative political line in a more traditional sense.
- It is too early to tell what will change for the EU and its balance of power. European allies may view Ms Meloni with great suspicion. Her rhetorical insistence on the national interest of Italy and other countries glorifies a notion of European integration that will do little to strengthen European sovereignty.
- However, Ms Meloni has also changed her political line in recent months, for example, with regard to policy toward Russia. This contributes to the unpredictability of the pro-European line of the future Italian government.
- The Meloni government’s foreign policy may well resemble something akin to the Draghi “national interest” approach – embedded in international norms, albeit with a hard rightist edge to it. However, there is undoubtedly a risk that populist, anti-EU and anti-transatlantic forces could still sway the new government from this new course.
Teresa Coratella, Programme manager of ECFR’s Rome office:
- According to results, about 33% of the seats in the next Italian Parliament will go to parties (Forza Italia, Lega and 5-Star Movement) which have opted for an ambiguous stance on Russia, sanctions, and military aid to Ukraine. They are all at odds with [Mario] Draghi’s position as well as that of Giorgia Meloni who has supported the government and European decisions and measures.
- The next Italian government will have to deal with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and with its own economic and financial situation. But it could also decide to introduce new dossiers such as an agenda for migration and the rule of law.