Far right-Italian politician Giorgia Meloni, favourite to become Italy’s first female prime minister after the September 25 elections, told EURACTiV’s partner EFE that her party is not anti-EU but instead just wants it to be more efficient. She also hoped for a similar right-wing trajectory in the Spanish 2023 elections.
Five days ahead of the Italian vote, in a pause amid the intense electoral campaign, Meloni states that no one in Italy believes that a win for Fratelli D’Italia (Brothers of Italy) would be a problem for democracy.
Italy is going through a time of significant challenges. What will be the first thing you will do if you win the elections?
The top priority is to support families and businesses in this terrible phase of rising prices and energy. In Italy, too many companies have reduced or stopped production and are likely to close if the government does not intervene with drastic measures. Many families are at risk of not being able to pay their bills. The European gas price cap and the decoupling of gas and electricity are needed immediately.
The latter measure can also be taken immediately at the national level. Secondly, we want to relaunch the economy by lowering taxes on labour, simplifying bureaucracy, creating strategic infrastructures, relaunching an industrial policy based on the valorisation of “Made in Italy”.
In addition, we want to restore security and stop uncontrolled immigration, which with the left in government, has resulted in incredible numbers of illegal arrivals on our shores.
Why should Italians vote for the Brothers of Italy?
On September 25, Italians have a great opportunity to put an end to the long period of the left, which has been in government almost uninterruptedly without ever winning elections. The vote of Brothers of Italy, however, will not be a vote of protest but a vote of strong change.
Italians know they can trust us because we are consistent. We have been in opposition for a long time, but we have never stopped making our proposals and supporting the useful measures of the various governments. Those who elect us know precisely what they are choosing, they may like it or not, but there are no surprises.
PREPARED TO GOVERN
Do you see yourselves ready to govern?
Brothers of Italy is the party of Italian conservatives; we believe in the freedom of the person and in the central role of the family, in the Italian, European and Western cultural identity, in private initiative and social solidarity. We have a competent and prepared ruling class. Today we feel ready to govern if Italians want it.
What do you think of those who say that with your victory and that the centre-right democracy is in danger?
It is a paradox. For years in Italy, we have had governments headed by unelected prime ministers, often with majorities different from those that emerged from the elections. In the pandemic, we have seen unprecedented restrictions on freedom. Yet only now is their talk of the danger to democracy because finally Italians will vote and perhaps give a large majority to the centre-right led by Brothers of Italy. Nobody believes that in Italy, not even the left itself uses it as a weapon of desperation.
We are a stable democracy and those who sound the alarms about Italy’s future are not hurting Giorgia Meloni but Italy itself. The truth is that the only thing in danger is the system of power of the left, which in Italy always governs without ever winning the elections. Anyway, we will be a right-wing Government; we already manage 15 regions and hundreds of town halls… What are we talking about?
You have harshly criticised Europe and there is an anti-European wing in your party. What would you say to those in Europe who are afraid of the arrival of the Brothers of Italy to the Government?
My party does not have an anti-European wing. We only have one line, which is that of the European conservatives. The pandemic (…) and the war (…) have shown us what has not worked in constructing the EU in the last decades. For too many years, Brussels has expanded its competencies in many aspects of our daily life, forgetting about a standard foreign and Defence policy about securing our energy autonomy.
I want a Europe that does fewer things and does them better, with less centralism, more subsidiarity, less bureaucracy, and more politics. We are not at all against Europe, but for a more efficient Europe, which knows how to be a real added value for its citizens. And as for Italy, I would like to give back the role it deserves in the international context and better defend its national interests in the EU institutions, as the Germans and the French do very well, without anyone being scandalised.
SUPPORT A VOICE FOR THE BROTHERS IN ITALY
What is the relationship of the Brothers of Italy with Vox (far-right Spanish party)? Did you receive their support in the campaign?
It was a too short campaign; we chose not to organise events with foreign guests. As often happens, I had a long phone call with Santiago Abascal (Vox leader). We are united by mutual respect, friendship and loyalty. We are amused by the fact that in Italy, the left uses Vox to attack Brothers of Italy, and in Spain, Brothers of Italy is used to attack Vox. Maybe we are not those monsters (some people say we are).
I hope that the Italian centre-right led by the Brothers of Italy will win the elections and that this may pave the way for something similar also in Spain in a few months. In difficult times like the ones we are living through, the concreteness and pragmatism of the conservatives are much more effective than the ideological recipes of the left.
Do you feel feminist?
Italian feminism has historically been situated on the left, where there is an open debate: on ethical and political questions of gender, as well as on the possibility of the first prime minister in Italian history being a non-left-wing woman.
So now the left is attacking me, saying that I am a woman, but I think like a man. They are actually going crazy because left-wing women are not finding space after decades of rhetorical proclamations, while right-wing women are.
Are Brothers of Italy planning changes on abortion rights?
I am concrete and what interests me is to favour family-work reconciliation policies, eliminate the gender wage gap and support motherhood. Regarding abortion, our intention is to implement the first part of the current law 194 fully, that is, to provide prevention policies to offer an alternative to women who are thinking of having an abortion for economic reasons.
Those women have to find a friendly State at their side: more opportunities and not fewer rights.