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Not only Italy: Europe is turning to the right | Israel today


The lenient immigration policy of the Union, the demand to restore sovereignty to the countries and the attitude towards Russia - the burning issues on the continent lead to the rise of the right in Europe, with the latest to be conquered being Italy and Sweden • Italian-Jewish journalist Fiamma Nirenstein estimates that Europe is facing an upheaval: "The Union will not survive if it does not make changes"

On October 9, 1999, 23 years ago, something happened in the history of the European Union.

In the general elections held in Austria, four years after its accession to the European Union, a far-right party - the "Freedom Party" led by Yerg Haider - became the largest party in the right-wing camp, overtaking the conservative "People's Party".

The founders of the party in the 1950s were members of the Nazi Party.

Two of its leaders over the years were members of the Waffen SS.

Haider built his political career on nostalgia for the Third Reich.

The shock across Europe and the world from the election results increased, when the Austrian conservatives decided to form a joint government with the "Freedom Party".

The European Union took an unprecedented step and imposed sanctions on Austria.

Israel recalled its ambassador from Vienna and downgraded diplomatic relations between the two countries.

This was not the first time that the "Freedom Party" played a significant role in Austrian politics: in the early 1970s, when it was headed by a former SS man, it enabled the establishment of a minority government led by the Jewish social democrat Bruno Kreisky.

A decade later she joined a social democratic government.

Nor was it the first time that an extreme right-wing party joined the ranks of a government in an EU country: in 1994, Silvio Berlusconi added four ministers from the fascist "Italian Social Movement" party to his government, one of whom served as deputy prime minister.

But the transformation of a party with extreme right-wing roots into a leader in the right-wing camp set a precedent for a process that the European Union hoped it would be able to stop.

in vain

This month, a circle was closed, when the "Democratic Swedes" party, with its neo-Nazi and racist roots, became the leader of the right-wing camp in one of the liberal Scandinavian countries, and the "Brothers of Italy" party, with its fascist roots,

became the largest party in the general elections in the boot state.

Its leader, George Maloney, who has a fascist past - is expected to serve as prime minister.

If we add to this the electoral success recorded by Marine Le Pen in the last French presidential elections (41.5%) and her party, the "National Convention" in the elections to the National Assembly (a jump from 8 seats to 89), and the polls that again compliment the "Freedom Party" in Austria, and to the extent Certain also for the Vox party in Spain, which will go to the elections next year, it seems that Europe is facing a political wave that will change its face.

Much water has flowed in the rivers of the "old continent" in the last quarter of a century.

The EU grew gradually, shrinking with Britain's departure.

Generations of politicians have changed.

Conservatives and social democrats were centralized, and as a punishment for that they were weakened and slowly wiped out.

Their place, on the right and on the left, was taken by parties that in the past were considered extremist and today claim that they represent the values ​​of conservatism and patriotism or socialism, which were neglected by the others.

The extreme right was replaced by the sovereign right, which opposes a centralized and bureaucratic European Union, advocates the promotion of national interests, the preservation of national and usually also religious-Christian identity, and the drastic limitation of mass immigration.

There is right and there is more right

The complexity of the sovereign right-wing camp is evidenced by its split in the ranks of the European Parliament: some of these parties are members of the "European Conservatives and Reformists" faction, which includes, for example, the Polish ruling party "Law and Justice", the Czech ruling party "Civil Democratic Party", "Brothers of Italy" ", "The Democratic Swedes", and the Spanish "Vox".

The other part is a member of the larger faction, "Identity and Democracy", in whose ranks you can find the "National Convention" from France, the freedom parties from Austria and the Netherlands, the Danish People's Party, the Italian "League" and "Alternative to Germany".

The Hungarian ruling party, Fidesz, withdrew from the conservative faction and is not currently a member of either group.

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, who derives great pleasure from the achievements of the sovereign right in the elections in Italy and Sweden, is very active in efforts to unite the ranks of the sovereign right in Europe as a new conservative alternative.

The difference in the positions of the parties of the sovereign right on a very contemporary fundamental issue - the question of the relationship with Russia - shows the complexity of the camp: shortly after congratulating Maloney on her victory in the Italian elections, this week Orban announced the existence of a referendum on the sanctions against Russia, with the intention to bring about their abolition as soon as possible.

Maloney, for her part, supports the tightening of Western sanctions on Russia.

The fact that Italy is the third largest country and the third strongest economic power in the European Union (eighth in the world) gives the victory of the sovereign right in the elections there a very significant dimension.

Maloney, who in the previous elections in 2018 obtained only about 4% of the votes, increased the power of her party fivefold mainly at the expense of her partners on the right - Matteo Salvini's "League" and former Prime Minister Berlusconi's "Forza Italia". She has the fact that, unlike these partners, she has remained in the opposition for the past four years, while Italy has faced extreme political instability, the deadly corona crisis and now the economic crisis created by the Ukraine war. Is there any reason to fear Meloni and her party because of the fascist past?

"Maloni has changed"

The Jewish journalist Fiama Nirenstein, formerly a member of parliament on behalf of Berlusconi's party and deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and currently a member of the Jerusalem Center for Public and State Affairs, seeks to reassure: "There is a small grain of reality in the accusations leveled against her regarding fascism, but, also many of the leaders of the left-wing parties and The liberals in Italy were communists in their youth and in the early stages of their political careers.

"She, as a girl who came from a family that lived in a poor suburb of Rome, where movements of the Italian extreme right grew, was part of this phenomenon. It still affects the way she expresses herself - the aggressiveness with which she explains herself. But there are many biographies of leaders who changed the through them.

"She changed many things during her life. I feel today that she is a different person. Is there neo-fascism in Maloney's political education? Yes. But from what I see now, it has been erased. She began a long time ago to change her views and her way of behaving, and to adopt A more open approach towards many issues, which scare many people - such as the European Union. She has not become a total opponent of the European Union. Such a position will create problems for her and for Italy. She is only saying: 'Take us seriously, you cannot put us in a corner because Germany and France are more important We are a big country with a big GDP, even if we have high debts.

You want us in the Union - you will have to treat us with respect and as we are.'"

I mean the transformation she went through is authentic?

"I think so. There is something very related to the ideological environment of the deep right that she will have to change, and she must work on it: the issue of human rights. Today, everyone needs to be open about family, LGBT, immigration issues.

The world has changed, so even if you like the traditional ideas, you have to change in a certain way.

Reality will push her to it.

Maloney will choose to be as conservative as she can be.

But, does she want to push the LGBT so that they live on the fringes of society again? The answer is no. Does she want to put women back in an inferior position? Certainly Maloney does not want to do that.

"On Rosh Hashanah, in the Great Synagogue of Rome, people asked me if she would be anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. No, she would not be anti-Semitic, and I do not think she would be anti-Israel. What strengthens my assessment of the matter is her position on the most burning international issue. She stood uncompromisingly on the side of Ukraine against Russia. It took a pro-Western, pro-democratic and pro-American position throughout the war in Ukraine. Today the world is divided into two: on the other side there is the group of autocratic and aggressive regimes: Russia, China, Iran and the other regimes friendly to them On the other side are the countries with open, democratic and tolerant societies, where human rights are respected. Israel is on this side. I think Meloni has clearly chosen her camp."

I mean, you say very clearly - Italy is not becoming fascist?

"Exactly. Maloney still needs to 'grow' as prime minister. She doesn't have much experience. She was a youth minister. That's the only governmental experience she has. Then she was in the opposition. So she needs to find people with whom she can govern and will have to learn how to govern. Another matter , which should be noted: some of the people around her may be influenced by too reactionary worldviews. Some of the older members of her party are like that. And another thing: she needs to evolve from a position of religious conservatism, which excludes large groups of modern society. She needs to include them, and preserve democracy and Relations with the USA.

It should stick to the positions it has had so far and show that it is against terrorism, against Iran, against certain policies of China."

The left is not trusted

In this context, Nirenstein emphasizes Maloney's great ideological closeness to the US: "This is good, since Italy has always been a very anti-American country.

She likes the US as a conceptual concept more than the idea of ​​the European Union. She opposed the Russian invasion of Ukraine all the way, and did not play politics with this issue. This is a remarkable position. While the left has always been the main source of power in Italy, with a communist party that has Previously more than 30% in the elections, this is a positive change, which will also give Italy a different status in the international arena. Perhaps it will also change the attitude towards Israel: Italy continued to vote against Israel in the UN, although Berlusconi tried to change this attitude, not with much success.

The hegemony of the left is still very entrenched in Italy."

What, then, caused the defeat of the left in the elections?

"The left's promise to stand by the people was forgotten a long time ago. It became more and more clear that they do not speak on behalf of the ordinary people and concern for their daily needs. This is also reflected in the high rate of abstaining from voting. On the one hand you have the left that only speaks to the bourgeoisie in the big cities. It Does not explain to ordinary people how they will pay the electricity bills, how their children will find work, how they will deal with the ongoing consequences of the Corona and what really needs to be done about Putin. The leaders of the left say they are against Putin, but the base, the activists, support Russia, because they still treat Elia as God in the B.R.H.M.

"The left also failed to unite. The right won because it speaks simply, it is united, and the main players there have not changed. They broadcast continuity. But the propaganda against Maloney, which presented her as fascist, raised many doubts. We must not forget that the leftist ideology is still very widespread in Italy, People's way of thinking and the collective imagination are very left-wing. But people don't trust the left anymore, because they broke so many promises."

Meloni is not the only one who will have to change.

The EU too, right?

"The Union will undoubtedly have to deal with changes. Europe must think anew and logically about the issue of immigration. The Union did not really want to confront this question. What happened? The most extreme positions took over the discourse. On the one hand, Urban, who closes borders, and on the other, those who open all The borders. This is how an internal conflict was created. It is very possible that the new political forces will bring Europe to change.

"The European Union was founded on the basis of socialist ideas. After the Second World War, when the real dangers were the Nazi and Fascist ideologies, this was the dream. In the context of that time it is understandable. But over time, this ideology artificially pushed all the nations together.

"Hence The sovereignty movement was born.

This is a response to Europe that imitates identities.

It developed below the surface and suddenly erupted as a volcano.

When Maloney says today 'We are for Europe, but we don't want to be treated with disdain as a small country, why should Germany and France be the leaders and all the other countries are not considered?'

This is not a negative position.

Things will have to change.

It would not be bad to give more space to national identity in a not excessive manner.

The EU will not survive if it does not make these changes.

Some sovereignty would not be bad.

Maloney is not urban.

Nor is Urban as those who don't know him portray him.

He is not a monster."

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Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2022-09-29

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