The Italian Far Right, Ukraine and Israel

Putin’s Friends? The Complex Balance Inside Italy’s Far-Right Government Coalition

November 28, 2022

Italy’s new far-right government has been widely perceived as the potential weak spot of the anti-Kremlin European front following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: traditionally pro-Putin politicians such as Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi are back in power. Yet, after Mario Draghi’s hawkish Euro-Atlantic government fell in July and Giorgia Meloni was looking forward to a probable victory, she immediately sided with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a firm condemnation of Russia.

Key takeways:

  • Italy’s good relations with Putin’s Russia have not been the prerogative of a specific party. Political, economic and energy ties developed significantly with center-left and center-right governments alike.
  • In line with most far-right parties in the EU, Salvini’s Northern League and Meloni’s Brothers of Italy developed an appreciation for Putin’s neo-conservative regime while criticizing the EU and NATO for damaging Italy’s entente with Moscow.
  • A potential reconciliation with Moscow goes against Italy’s national interest at this point. Russia accounts for only 1.5% of Italy’s exports against its Western partners’80%. Besides, the EU’s interconnected gas market requires a coordinated plan to overcome the energy crisis. Finally, the reconquest of Kherson by Ukraine in November makes support for the Kremlin political suicide.
  • Meloni’s sudden pro-NATO shift has taken much of her electorate by surprise, while support for Ukraine is low in the country. Coalition allies Salvini and Berlusconi are ready to take advantage of this gap to weaken Meloni’s leadership. This is typical of Italy’s fragile parliamentary democracy. To avoid further disappointing her electorate, Meloni is rapidly satisfying other demands of theirs, on issues such as migration, family values and tax policies.
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“With the war in Ukraine, everything changes”, Matteo Salvini gives a strong blow to Putin, here is the decision he made

Sep 20, 2022

Matteo Salvini has stated today that “My opinion about Putin changed during the war because when someone starts to invade and bomb another country, everything changes.”

He also stated that this position will not change Italy’s international position, adding that China is the main competitor.

For his part, Silvio Berlusconi, the head of Forza Italia, has confirmed the unity of the center-right in foreign policy, saying: “We are Europe, in NATO, in the West and we will have the same policies”.

Regarding the sanctions imposed on Russia, he said that they have done a lot of harm to Russia.

Focusing on the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, Berlusconi said that he is his friend, but Orban’s Europe is not and will never be Italy’s Europe.

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Far-right Italian politician slammed for vow to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Sep. 1, 2022

The Palestinian Embassy in Rome and Italian politicians have condemned the leader of a far-right party who, while campaigning for this month’s general election, vowed to keep his promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the Italian Embassy there.

Matteo Salvini, who heads the Northern League — a nationalist, anti-immigrant party — is running in the Sept. 25 election as part of a center-right coalition with Forza Italia and Fratelli d’Italia.

According to the latest polls, the coalition may win a majority in the election, which was called after Mario Draghi resigned as prime minister at the end of July.

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Salvini told state broadcaster Rai Uno: “I gave my word. I am fully committed to helping the Israeli population. How nice it would be if Italy were the first European country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

He added: “A democracy like Israel has the right to defend itself from any threat to its existence and freedom.”

Salvini’s remarks were condemned by the Palestinian Embassy in Rome, which on Thursday said it “regrets that a fundamental issue as the status of Jerusalem has been misused during the current electoral campaign. Consensus cannot be gathered by preaching illegality.”

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