Name? Giorgia Meloni
Westphalian identity? Italian
Why is she in the news? After winning Italy’s parliamentary elections, Giorgia Meloni is set to become Italy’s first female prime minister and lead the country’s most right-wing government since World War II. Her party won 26% of the vote and together with a planned right wing coalition she will hold the majority in Italy’s Chamber and Senate.
Why do we care? Meloni could shift important votes in the EU to benefit leaders like Hungarian President Viktor Orbán or Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Both of them have faced trouble with the European Commission of rule of law in their respective countries and are facing sanctions. With her they have an additional ally in their corner furthering their agendas and blocking EU decision making. After former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi raised Italy’s profile in the EU, Meloni is only raising concerns.
Why should you care? Meloni promised to govern for all Italians, but given her past rhetoric on the “LGBT lobby” and that her party was born out of a post-war movement rooted in the fascist past of dictator Benito Mussolini, you should care 7/10 about Meloni keeping her promise.
Who else cares? President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. She is not only concerned because of shifting dynamics within the EU, but also because Italy is the largest recipient of the EU Covid recovery funds which are bound to government reforms. Von der Leyen’s Commission is about to send its second instalment worth €21bn to Italy, but the new Meloni government could jeopardise the next €19bn over critical reforms.
Any further comments? Whether Meloni will actually be able to change anything is highly questionable. Not only is the average duration of an Italian government only 14 months, but bureaucracy has already brought down many populist movements (last example the 5 Star Movement). This makes Italy’s politics a constant cycle of failed populist waves.