Brothers of Italy look set to wrestle control of the Italian Right from Matteo Salvini

By Vincenzo Caccioppoli


By appointing Carlo Fidanza as the head of the Brothers of Italy’s head of delegation to The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group, Giorgia Meloni has acheived a great personal result.

Fidanza, a true strategist of the party’s foreign policy, represents yet another step towards the definitive consecration of its leadership not only at the national level, and could now also have repercussions on the endless quarrel between who should lead the center-right.

The ECR, of which all the countries of the Visegrad bloc (except Orban who is in the EPP) belong, is a coalition in which the British Conservative Party, and parties such as the Spanish Vox and the Polish Law and Justice, is in an intermediate position between the centre-right EPP and the extreme radical wing of Identity and Democracy to which the Lega adheres.

Currently it can count on 62 deputies in the European Parliament, including members of the Christian Political Movement of Europe.

The choice of Meloni, a young and rampant leader, whose authority has now crossed national borders, perhaps gives a signal on what the leadership of the party will be in the coming months

It is therefore almost natural that this fact also raises a question within the League regarding its own line to follow in foreign policy, since up to now the party has had a sometimes contradictory attitude.

Under the leadership of the real Sherpa of party diplomacy, Giancarlo Giorgetti, now fed up with the group’s too extreme positions in Europe, there is now insistence about a change in Starsburgo towards the more moderate EPP (provided that these are agree).

The appointment of Meloni can only lead to a probable acceleration of this process. It is the first time, in fact, that a woman leads the party, but it is also above all the first time that an Italian politician is at the helm of a large European party.

This fact seems to strengthen the thesis of the British newspaper The Times, that at the beginning of the year it included Giorgia Meloni among the most influential people of 2020, which raised eyebrows at the time.

With this important election, Meloni can put on her bulletin board yet another record of her long political career, which is now also beginning to take on that authority on an international level, which has always been an Achilles’ heel for many Italian politicians, including Salvini.

The fact that she was the only Italian politician to be invited last January to the most important republican reunion in the US, in the presence of the president, was already quite a sensation (and perhaps aroused a bit of envy even and above all in the League’s ranks).

In short, it seems that the leader of Brothers of Italy has begun that accreditation process at an international level, which, as we know, is an element that certainly helps those with political aspirations of a certain importance.

And it is on this that a clash with the Northern League leader could arise, who, on the other hand, still struggles to find this international authority. It is no coincidence that Giancarlo Giorgetti, a prominent League member who has acquaintances in the upper echelons of the international establishment, has been working underground for months to try to introduce Matteo Salvini into the “salons” that matter in international politics.

The “moderate” turning point of the League, both in Europe and internally, is most likely explained by this attempt by the League’s deputy secretary to make the party and its leader more credible at international level with a view to a possible future premiership.

But Meloni also seems to have an advantage here, both for her own merits and for her parity. The work of Brothers of Italy in Europe, carried out by a small but very combative troop of MEPs, already has some important successes to its credit as regards the European aid policies.

The Melonian MEPs seem to move much better in the corridors of Brussels than the more experienced League team, which still commits serious naiveté, such as not voting on the resolution against Lukashenko, who literally sent Giorgetti into a rage.

For some time, Brothers of Italy’s foreign policy has been clear and unequivocal and not as volatile as that of the Northern League or that of the 5Star Movement.

Loyalty to Atlanticism and the US has always been out of the question, as well as a certain mistrust of China and Putin’s Russia.

Fidanza’s appointment, while surprising, certainly strengthens the role not only of the party, but also of the country at European and international level, in a very delicate moment, considering that precisely in these hours in Brussels, discussion are taking place on how to develop the Recovery Fund projects.

Surely the presence of a prominent personality like Meoni at the presidency of a large party, such as that of the conservatives, can only be good for Italy, which is the major beneficiary of the Recovery Fund?

It remains to be seen how this will affect the balance within the center-right, already weakened by the results of the polls last September.

After their victory in the Marche – winning 20 of 31 seats last year – and now this important international recognition, Meloni certainly seems to have come out strengthened in its leadership against a Salvini weakened by judicial troubles and electoral defeats, which perhaps put him in difficulty even within his own party who, as many claim, no longer seems to be so staunchly faithful to his secretary as he did a few months ago.

The frontal war of Matteo Salvini and the League is at home which in Europe seems to have lost much of its propulsive thrust, therefore a change of pace is needed. The regional authorities risk crystallising the government’s positions until the end of the legislature.

And these two years that separate us from the polls could see a League towards more moderate positions and softer tones, to avoid arriving at the polls with shortness of breath and with a perky and fresh Giorgia Meloni, ready instead to take the role of leader of the coalition.

Vincenzo Caccioppoli is a Rome-based journalist focusing on international politics. He is the editor of the Farefuturo foundation in international politics.


Featured Image: Atbc. @WikimediaCommons

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