Italy: A new right-wing government in the EU crisis

The European direction of the new right-wing government remains uncertain. The only certainty is that the continuation of the policy followed in the past can only aggravate the crisis.

The right-wing alliance will take over the leadership of the Italian government by the end of October with Giorgia Meloni, leader of  Brothers of Italy. at the top. The premiership candidate has been moving with concern so far. It must govern a country that is heading towards economic stagnation while prices have increased to an extent unknown in recent years, unemployment and the difficulties of weaker areas such as the South are increasing. And it is no coincidence that the of the Five Stars Movement has reported an unforeseen great success.

Over the past decade seven governments have succeeded at the head of the country, none able to last for the full legislature. The past gives no guarantees. Governments of parties that had won elections with over 30 per cent of the votes have fallen, as happened to 5 Stars Movement before, and the league (European elections) after.

Which line will the new right-wing coalition - Meloni's Brothers of Italy, Savlini's League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia - confronted with the crisis will chose?

The right-wing program

The traditional right-wing program offers no solution. It will be useless to take a position against immigration, if not to testify to a position that ignores the disastrous problems of migrants. The immigration from Nigeria or Ghana. to cite by way of example two countries characterized by an unsustainable economic and social condition, they will continue to attempt the passage through the Sahara and then Libya, becoming prey to gangs that strip them of the few resources they have kept. Not welcome them - and, possibly, try to facilitate their passage to other European countries? To send them back - where?

 The program of the right-wing parties announces, among other things, various (and bizarre) measures such as the reduction of taxes for richer people. In other words, reduce public revenue while national income already, tends to go to zero and total revenue automatically falls. It will be said that the government will propose to implement the program by diluting it in the course of the legislature, if circumstances allow it, but, more realistically, it will be necessary to abandon it.

But it's not just about the difficulty of living up to an ordinary right-wing agenda. The new government will find itself in the middle of the conflict with Russia. Brothers of Italy has already chosen its course by siding with the United States. The choice is not accidental. The American consensus is a guarantee for a government led by the far right that is unprecedented in Italian post-war history. The American guarantee is an important condition. Meloni has cleverly cultivated it by clearly siding on the American line in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Problems remain unresolved and worsening. The United States is scarcely or not at all interested, in the economic and social crisis involving European countries, subject to an unprecedented increase in prices that affects not only oil derivatives but the entire industrial system. Zero growth is a problem for any government. In the Italian case, in the past decade victim of the recession interspersed with phases of modest growth, the right-wing government will have to face a condition aggravated by the energy crisis for the families and the industrial asset.

The German solution

The crisis obliges the search for remedies. Germany has decided to invest 200 billion euros from the public budget to help enterprises and families: an important measure to compensate the increase in the price of fuel, support household favouring the recovery of consumption, along with investment and export.

A measure that moves in the opposite direction to the line of the European Commission that sees in the German example a model in contrast with the austerity line of the Union which imposes control and, tendentially, the reduction of public spending. The opposition is motivated by the fact that the manoeuvre was not presented to the Commission and for the fear that the example could be replicated in other countries and, in particular, in Italy, the third largest country in the eurozone.

In the last decade, the Italian center-left governments have followed European rules with the result of alternating phases of low growth with recessive phases, the result of which has been the contraction of the national income, currently lower than that recorded in 2007, fifteen years ago!

In essence, the new right-wing government finds itself in the alternative of abiding by the rules imposed by Brussels or violating them with a growth in public spending tending to support national growth and necessarily destined to increase public debt. It can take a line more or less similar to the German one to avoid the collapse of consumption and the collapse in investments. But, in this case, the new right-wing coalition does not escape the conflict with Brussels. A conflict justified by the Italian point of view.

There are, in fact, many reasons why Italy should follow the German line in contrast with the policy of the European Commission. It would be a reasonable choice. But the direction the new government will take for this fundamental aspect remains uncertain. The only certainty is that the continuation of the policy followed in the past in compliance with European rules can only aggravate the crisis.

The new right-wing government may lead to a clash with Brussels politics or the continuation of the failed policies of the past decade. The future remains uncertain.

Antonio Lettieri

Editor of Insight and President of CISS - Center for International Social Studies (Roma). He was National Secretary of CGIL; Member of ILO Governing Body and Advisor for European policy of Labour Minister. (