Analysis: A Meloni election win could shift Europe’s balance of power via FXEmpire #forex #fx.
PARIS/BERLIN/BUDAPEST (Reuters) – The European Union’s powerhouses will have to tread carefully around Giorgia Meloni if the nationalist candidate’s coalition wins Italy’s 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 Russia’s war on Europe’s eastern flank and the continent’s worst energy and cost-of-living crises in decades.
If Meloni wins, Sunday’s 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.
Underscoring challenges ahead for Meloni and Europe, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia party belongs to Meloni’s coalition, said Russia had been “pushed” into the war on Ukraine. His comments are likely to concern Western allies.
After a victory for Sweden’s 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, Italy’s outgoing prime minister and a former president of the European Central Bank, raised Italy’s profile and credibility on the European stage, espousing the deeper integration sought by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Meloni’s 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 Scholz’s 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 Hungary’s 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.