Parties set to express their stance on Kyiv. The European Council is coming up on Thursday and Friday, with all EU country leaders convening in Brussels. As per custom, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will relate before Parliament the positions and issues she will relay on behalf of the country. And all parties will have a chance to have their say on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- European countries have reached a tentative agreement to jointly purchase ammo for Ukraine as its allies prepare to up their support – and some, namely Poland and Slovakia, are even jumping ahead by supplying jets.
The centre-right majority: unity and doubts. So far, PM Meloni and her governing team have been rock-solid in their support for Ukraine, approving the sixth weapons package to ensure continued military aid. The PM herself travelled to Kyiv in late February and declared that Italy would “give every kind of military, financial and civil support,” stressing that “whoever is supporting Ukraine, even militarily, is working for peace.”
- The centre-right parties supporting her majority are expected to present and vote a shared text upholding PM Meloni’s line. Even though some – including Forza Italia’s Silvio Berlusconi – have voiced doubts about Italy’s stance.
- Most recently, FI’s Maurizio Gasparri spoke on an “ongoing escalation” and declared he “totally support[ed]” his leader’s position, centred on efforts for “dialogue”. “As FI, we fought for military aid to remain defensive, and we will continue to work on this,” he added (even though, as PM Meloni quipped, “all weapons are defensive when there is an aggression”).
- The government will also host a Ukraine reconstruction conference in Rome in late April.
The Democratic Party: in the name of continuity? The recently-elected head of the Democratic Party (PD), Elly Schlein, has already signalled she is keen on supporting Ukraine against Russia’s “criminal invasion,” including by sending weapons. Setting aside her calls to work towards peace, that’s essentially the same line as her predecessor Enrico Letta.
- The so-called Third Pole, comprising Azione and Italia Viva, is also expected to back arming Kyiv – minus the “peace” rhetoric.
The Five Star Movement: back to propaganda. “Step by step, armaments upon armaments, we are finding ourselves totally immersed in this war,” cried former PM Giuseppe Conte (now leader of the M5S) on Il Fatto Quotidiano, renewing his push to achieve “peace” by ceasing weapons deliveries to the Ukrainian resistance and his criticism of the Meloni government.
- That same newspaper reported earlier that roughly 20 Ukrainian soldiers are being trained on Italian soil to use the anti-missile SAMP-T system, which Rome (working alongside Paris) will soon ship to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
- Mr Conte criticised this as “a sign of Italy’s increasingly active participation in the conflict.” He lambasted the Italian government and the EU for failing to pursue “a peace solution […] We must concentrate all our efforts on the diplomatic level because we risk finding ourselves in a Third World War.
- Apparently, he dismissed the fact that Ukraine needs the SAMP-T system to defend itself from Russian missiles directed at critical infrastructure and civilians. He also ignored that the Meloni government’s line matches that of her predecessor, Mario Draghi, where the M5S was the biggest shareholder.