The internal Spanish battle is one thing and international politics is another.
In Madrid, Pedro Sánchez harshly attacks Vox as a representative of the extreme right.
But in his international agenda, and in the context of the next Spanish presidency of the EU, Sánchez has organized a trip to Rome to meet for the first time with Giorgia Meloni, the Italian prime minister, an ally of Vox to the point that on 12 June - four months before coming to power - he delivered a joint meeting with Santiago Abascal in Marbella, in the last campaign of the Andalusian elections.
Sánchez will arrive in the Italian capital on April 5, in the middle of Easter, after returning from his trip to China.
The day before he will be in Cyprus and Malta.
This will be the third trip of the European tour that has always followed the same scheme:
It is, without a doubt, Sánchez's most politically sensitive trip so far.
The leader of the PSOE and Meloni are at the ideological antipodes.
Sánchez supported the candidate of the Social Democrats, Enrico Letta, in the Italian elections, and in La Moncloa the arrival of the extreme right to power in Italy caused great concern.
Meloni's very tough rally in Marbella, where he came to speak of the "natural family", the "universality of the cross", and charged against immigration, against "LGBT culture", "gender ideology", and in general against almost all the values that the Sánchez government defends, it caused a lot of impact in Spain and even in Italy, to the point that the prime minister said that she regretted her tone.
Meloni went so far as to say in her speech on the Costa del Sol that “the left defends women until they encounter a foreign criminal.
At that moment, due to the ideological reflection, the foreign criminal is worth more than the woman”.
Moncloa expected the worst in the Italian Government, but now the message transmitted by various members of the Executive is that Meloni has greatly softened his positions since he arrived at the Chigi palace in October, the seat of the Italian Government presidency.
Even so, the differences are enormous, especially in a decisive issue for the two countries such as immigration.
Sánchez began his term, in June 2018, with a clash with Italy because he decided to welcome the
, a ship with more than 600 immigrants that the Italians had rejected.
Later, the president has been hardening his position, but even so, he is very far from what Meloni defends.
The prime minister has been widely criticized in Italy, where positions on migration are very tough in almost all sectors, for taking two weeks to travel to Cutro, in Calabria, the scene of a tragedy with at least 70 migrants drowning very close. of the coast.
After the criticism, she held a Council of Ministers in that town and promised to toughen the penalties for immigrant smugglers.
Sánchez and Meloni will undoubtedly disagree on their positions on immigration, but they agree on other sensitive issues.
For example, in the reform of the European energy market, which both defend.
Also on other key issues that affect the two countries almost equally, such as the reform of the stability pact.
This is currently suspended, but as soon as it is applied again, it will limit the ability of these two countries to borrow and spend and of others that have greatly increased their debt during the pandemic to face the crisis and save their workers and their companies.
In La Moncloa they are optimistic and believe that Meloni has already shown in her first trips and international appointments in Brussels that she wants to be in the European club and is willing to defend the same positions as her colleagues with more moderate ideologies.
In fact, Sánchez had already organized a first meeting with Meloni in December in Alicante, at a Euro-Mediterranean summit, but the Italian could not attend due to flu.
Sánchez, they explain in La Moncloa, in his role as European leader, he must travel to Italy and maintain the best possible relationship with Meloni, despite the great political differences.
Italy is too important in Europe and for Spain not to build those bridges.
On the contrary, Sánchez does not plan to travel to Hungary, the other European country in the hands of the extreme right, with whose president, Viktor Orbán, he has practically no relationship.
There yes, La Moncloa seems to have set a clear political limit.
Orbán also does maintain positions that break the consensus in the EU on decisive issues such as the war in Ukraine, while Meloni aligns himself with the other partners and has traveled to Kiev to support Zelenski, as has Sánchez.
The justification for this delicate trip to Rome to see an ally of Vox rests on this fundamental difference for the Spanish Government, but who, above her political positions, is the prime minister democratically elected by the Italians, and that is how they want to see her in the Executive.