Stronger together. A unitary centre-right party bringing together the parties currently in government – Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia – is again being discussed in Italy.
- The current governing majority “could become a big conservative party,” said Defence Minister Guido Crosetto, Prime Minister Meloni’s close ally and one of the founders of the Brothers of Italy.
- Brothers of Italy “must fill the centre as well, proving to be increasingly open and inclusive,” Crosetto said in an interview with Corriere della Sera.
A step back. The debate on the Italian conservative party reopened after Berlusconi’s health worsened. Furthermore, the split between Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva and Carlo Calenda’s Azione centrist parties has added further impetus to the discussion.
The League’s fate. The 2024 European Parliament election will be held in the first half of next year.
- Forza Italia is a member of the European People’s Party, Fratelli d’Italia is a member of the Party of European Conservatives and Reformists (Meloni is president), and the League is a member of Identity and Democracy (MEP Marco Zanni is president of the group in the European Parliament).
- A few days ago, the rightwing Finns Party changed its European Parliament allegiance, announcing its switch from the Identity and Democracy (ID) group to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), headed by Meloni.
The expert’s take. “If Salvini does not want for himself and his party a marginal role in the future European arrangements at some point, he will have to leave the Identity and Democracy group,” said political scientist Damiano Palano. “Certain statements made by several Lega members, particularly on the war in Ukraine, have weakened the League itself in many respects but especially in terms of international credibility,” he added.
- One year before the European elections, the League must now decide whether to remain in the far-right group with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and Alternative for Germany or move to the ECR or the EPP. However, this may place the League in a weaker position within a new group than it enjoys in Identity and Democracy.
- On 2 May, the highest governing body of the League will meet to decide its future in Europe, and the fate of the potential new unitary centre-right party will be decided.