«FdI is trying to divide the EU. The vote in Italy is decisive for us »- Corriere.it

from Paolo Valentino

«I consider the Brothers of Italy to be a neo-fascist party. And public opinion is stirred up against Germany with petty controversies “

BERLIN – «It was an honor for us to receive Enrico Letta a few days after the important vote in Italy. His meeting with Olaf Scholz and with the management of the SPD confirm the close ties that exist between us and the Democratic Party and show what is at stake “he says. Lars Klingbeilpresident of the German SPD.

Why do you think the Italian one is a decisive step?“Because it’s not just about who will govern in Italy. It is also decided whether your country under the leadership of a right-wing government will move away from the European context, to side with Viktor Orbán as does Giorgia Meloni’s party. In other words, if Italy will be led by a government anchored to European mentality and cooperation. Letta is a leader who has close contacts with the democratic parties of the Union, with the government and the German chancellor. And for the big challenges we face we need more, not less Europe ”.

Do you consider Giorgia Meloni’s party to be neo-fascist?

«Yes, I consider the Brothers of Italy to be a decidedly neo-fascist party. Let’s see how he uses the right-wing toolbox in the election campaign. Lies are spread. Public opinion is stirred up against Germany. They try to divide Europe. Italy is a large and generous country, the driving force of a strong Europe. With Brothers of Italy there is the danger that he will abandon this path ».

Yet Manfred Weber, president of the popular, came to Italy to support the center-right.

“This worries me because it shows that the Conservatives are not engaged against the forces of the right. Of course, Weber does not think like Meloni or Berlusconi, but with his participation he is a helper. I would like a clearer attitude on the part of the conservatives, not support for the neo-fascists that elevates them to government responsibilities, as has just happened in Sweden and could happen in Italy ».

Isn’t it a good time for social democracy in Europe?

“There are currently 8 European countries with social democratic leadership and we participate in the government of 13 EU nations. We are the strongest political family in the Union. Not for this reason we consider ourselves satisfied: we support the battles of the brother parties in Italy, Austria and also in the United Kingdom. We defend Europe from the populist right, which wants to give simple answers to complex problems. The war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine calls for new answers. The energy crisis creates serious concerns in the populations. And we have long observed that Putin uses his trolls to stoke the fire in Europe, supporting the parties of the populist right to divide and destroy it. Giorgia Meloni’s party shows that it is following this path ».

On the energy crisis you and Letta have spoken out for European solutions, but there are important differences: Germany has opposed a price cap on gas, Italy wants it.

“In the meantime, I am delighted that the way has been opened in Europe to return to consumers the extra profits of companies that produce electricity from sources other than gas. On the price of gas, we agreed with Letta that the goal must be a common response. Despite this, we also develop national ideas. But the difference between Letta and Meloni is that he comes here, discusses, seeks dialogue. It is a completely different style, it does not stir up petty controversies against Germany, but works together with Scholz to find common answers. These are difficult times, we need European solidarity to advance the development of renewables and quickly make us independent from Russian gas ».

Although Germany has supplied a lot of weapons to Ukraine, it still has reserves, for example on tanks.

«Germany, after the USA and Great Britain, is the largest arms supplier to Kiev. The current successes of the Ukrainian forces are due to their courage, but much also to the weapons received also by Germany, such as armored howitzers. Over the past week, our Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has decided to send in new missile launchers. But for us it is clear that there will be no German solitary action. No allies currently supply tanks. But every day we evaluate the new situation, to understand what other help we can give to Kiev with the Western alliance ».

Il Corriere has a newsletter dedicated to the elections: it’s called Political Diary, it’s free, and you can sign up here

September 21, 2022 (change September 21, 2022 | 22:14)

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