12:29 GMT +316 October 2019
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    German Defense Minister and Elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attends the cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, July 17, 2019.

    Will von der Leyen Change Europe’s Course After the Election? A Word to Sovereigntists

    FABRIZIO BENSCH
    Europe
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    The election of the new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has led to a new confrontation in the Italian government. Representatives of the League party did not support the candidacy of von der Leyen but the votes of the Five Star Movement members were decisive in her election.

    Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy prime minister and leader of the League, commented on the incident: “Having betrayed the trust of the Italians who voted for the changes, the members of the Five Stars voted for the candidate proposed by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, along with Matteo Renzi and Silvio Berlusconi.”

    It seems that Europeanism has again gained the upper hand in the EU. Marco Zanni, leader of the Identity and Democracy (ID) political group in the European Parliament, reflects on whether there are chances to change Europe from the inside.

    Sputnik: How will you build your policy towards the newly elected Ursula von der Leyen? Will you seek to compromise or continue the hardline opposition?

    Marco Zanni: We will oppose all decisions of this Commission that repeat the decisions of the previous one. If the name or position changes but the essence remains the same, we certainly can’t turn a blind eye. We are here to represent the demands of our voters at the EU level. We are responsible only to them and not to people who just want to take seats or make compromises. This is what we have demonstrated by not supporting the candidacy of von der Leyen.

    Sputnik: The election of von der Leyen was hailed as a victory for the Europeanists. Will the European Union change its course as sovereigntists had holed?

    Marco Zanni: I doubt the EU can guarantee its citizens changes. I am sure of one thing: we will not support such an approach to EU governance and we will not allow people who want to lead Europe without being aware how this affects their voters, to do so without consequences.

    Elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attends a news conference after the vote on her election at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 16, 2019
    © REUTERS / Vincent Kessler
    Elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attends a news conference after the vote on her election at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 16, 2019

    Sputnik: Your faction calls itself “Identity and Democracy”, what policies will it focus on within the EU?

    Marco Zanni: We will focus on the three pillars that are the basis of our political group's programme: the growth of the European economy, attention to internal security issues and a different approach to managing migration policy. The main goal is to restore dignity and competence to the member states of the European Union.

    Sputnik: What kind of relationship do you intend to build with Russia?

    Marco Zanni: With Russia, we have always advocated pragmatism and will consider the possibility of strengthening dialogue and cooperation.

    *Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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