A Meloni election win could shift Europes balance of power

She was branded ‘Europe’s most dangerous woman’. How will other EU leaders respond to @GiorgiaMeloni if she wins on Sunday? I’m told Macron, for one, was warned not to push her into Orban’s arms & will adopt a more sober rhetoric than with Salvini..

A Meloni election win, Europe, balance

Lega (League) leader Matteo Salvini, Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi and Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni react during the closing electoral campaign rally of the centre-rights coalition in Piazza del Popolo, ahead of the September 25 general election, in Rome, Italy, September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/

PARIS/BERLIN/BUDAPEST, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The European Unions powerhouses will have to tread carefully around Giorgia Meloni if the nationalist candidates coalition wins Italys election on Sunday, or risk pushing Rome towards Hungary and Poland, European officials said.

At play is the balance of power inside the EU as it contends with the fallout from Russias war on Europes eastern flank and the continents worst energy and cost-of-living crises in decades.

If Meloni wins, Sundays election will hand Italy its most right-wing government since World War Two. Although she has played down her far-right past, cracks in her coalition over foreign policy have emerged. read more

Underscoring challenges ahead for Meloni and Europe, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia party belongs to Melonis coalition, said Russia had been "pushed" into the war on Ukraine. his comments are likely to concern Western allies.

After a victory for Swedens nationalists, there is concern in Brussels, Paris and Berlin of a "populist front" forming that could block EU decision-making as it seeks to stave off recession and shield households from inflation.

Mario Draghi, Italys outgoing prime minister and a former president of the European Central Bank, raised Italys profile and credibility on the European stage, espousing the deeper integration sought by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Melonis intentions are less clear. She presents her Brothers of Italy party as a mainstream conservative force removed from its post-fascism roots, but some Europhiles are skeptical.

"It is worrying that a founding member of the EU is in such a situation. It is a threat to the EU and to Italy," said Rolf Müntzenich, a lawmaker in German Chancellor Olaf Scholzs Social Democrats party.

Macron has privately told EU officials he is concerned about a Meloni victory, according to sources aware of the conversations. When asked in public, Macron expresses optimism about relations with Italy.

Supporters of Hungarys nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban see in Meloni an opportunity for Budapest to gain a new ally in its battle with the EU executive.

"Orban will probably be able to count on the support of Italy in rule-of-law disputes in the EU," said Zoltan Kiszelly, an analyst at the pro-Hungarian government think tank Szazadveg.

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