"A new Europe has been born, founded on work, freedom, people and rights," Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini stated following the League's Sunday victory in the European Parliament elections in Italy.
Commenting on Salvini's aspirations, Politico argued that the League's victory is "likely to have more impact at home than in Brussels".
Italian journalist and political commentator Daniele Pozzati does not share this stance, referring to Salvini's plan to create a new 150-strong right-wing bloc in the European Parliament.
"That's the stated goal", Pozzati said. "But a 100-strong right-wing bloc would also be a good start. Anything below, however, would be too little, in a too-hostile EU parliament."
"By focusing on what might unite the various right-wing parties, and leaving aside their differences, Salvini is acting the way a coalition-builder should," Pozzati opined. "You can tell that Salvini, alone among the various right-wing populist parties, has government experience. He knows how to build a coalition."
Speaking to the Italian state broadcaster RAI on 26 May, Salvini suggested that the League, the National Rally and the Brexit Party together could control 90 seats, while the other right-wing parties from Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) could help bring this number to 150.
In April 2019, the League's leader announced the creation of the right-wing coalition, named European Alliance for People and Nations (EAPN), hoping to enlist members from Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), and European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).
Obstacles in Salvini's Way: Eurocrats and Soros' Allies
However, the Italian political commentator pointed out certain obstacles in the way of Salvini's grand design.
"A Salvini-led bloc will face an obvious obstacle: the risk of isolation within the European Parliament. Mainstream parties will try out the most unnatural alliances to corner Salvini's bloc. Let's not forget that [previously] 226 out of 751 MEPs were listed as 'reliable allies' by George Soros's Open Society foundation. Hence, one third of MEPs could be ideologically opposed to any dialogue with the populists," said Pozzati, citing the Open Society European Policy Institute's document, eloquently titled "Reliable allies in the European Parliament (2014 — 2019)".
Pozzati also drew attention to European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker's words on the eve of last week's European Parliament elections: "These populist nationalists, stupid nationalists, they are in love with their own countries", the EU president told CNN on 22 May.
According to the journalist, "the populist wave is unlikely to soften the EU's stance — so far, it has had the opposite effect".
EPP and S&D Need New Allies After Losing Combined Majority
The question then arises what alliances the EPP and S&D coalition are likely to conclude to regain their leadership positions.
According to Pozzati, two major forces, the Greens and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) would think twice before joining the establishment coalition.
"The Greens have not joined the German ruling coalition," the journalist noted. "Partly because their — admittedly somewhat utopian — economic policy is not in line with the austerity-enforcing 'Grosse Koalition' [grand coalition] — and hence, of the EU. So, it would be surprising to see the Greens join the European old establishment alliance (EPP+S&D) so soon."
On the other hand, "an alliance including both Liberals (ALDE) and Socialists & Democrats is also problematic — especially for the S&D", he believes.
"Behind the Social Democrats' electoral debacle lies their inability to put clear blue waters between them and the centre-right moderates", Pozzati opined, adding that "an alliance with the ALDE die-hard liberals might be the ultimate kiss of death for the S&D".
EU Dissolution Not Forthcoming in Short to Medium Term
Meanwhile, ex-White House strategist Steve Bannon predicted that European integration is "dead in its tracks" after right-wing parties in Italy, France and Britain won the European election.
Pozzati drew parallels between Bannon and Salvini's visions, stressing that the League's leader "does not intend — never really intended — to leave the EU". According to the Italian commentator, Salvini aims to create a "more perfect European Union".
"[Salvini] believes the EU can, and should be, reformed", the journalist said. "By a 'New Europe', he means one that abandons its pro-immigration stance, that moves beyond austerity in economic policy, that gives back its member states some of the autonomy they have lost during the European integration process".
However, the commentator believes that "in the short to medium term no dissolution of the bloc is forthcoming".
"The EU is not simply a bloc: it is the expression of a supra-national, transatlantic establishment", he explained. "To demolish the EU, you need to at least weaken the establishment of which the EU is the expression. Trump's election was a step in this direction."
Nevertheless, regardless of Trump's hailing the UK's Brexit and snubbing the bloc by temporarily lowering the EU's diplomatic status from that of a country to that of an international entity last January, the US needs the EU as it is far more convenient for Washington to keep controlling Europe "via a single, easily influenceable organisation", Pozzati concluded.
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