The European conservative wind

One year before the European elections, the Italian political forces are beginning to align, the election campaign is still a long way off, but the centre-right is giving the impression of wanting to exploit the wave of consensus that seems to reward conservative ideals at this historic juncture. And not only in Italy, where the government has consolidated its foothold in the country with the regional elections, but taking a panoramic look around Europe one perceives many signs of those pockets of discontent where the values synthesised in the right-wing proposals usually find fertile ground. This can be seen in France, where widespread popular protest, ignited by the tragic incidents between police and demonstrators, is taking the form of an expression of dissent against an establishment, the socialist one, which over the years has produced poverty, malaise, unemployment, integration difficulties and precariousness. This can also be seen in Germany, where the SPD of Olaf Sholz is in free fall in the polls, mainly due to the instability of the majority, the insinuations of nepotism in some appointments and the uncertainty shown on some important reforms, such as the hospital reform. In general, this is the time of Atlanticism, of the least sceptical Europeanism possible, of stricter management of migration flows and above all of unconditional support for arms supplies to Ukraine. And it was probably no coincidence that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni chose this week to fly to Warsaw to meet with her Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki. The desire was to show that European conservatives, in spite of the alleged differences that emerged at the last EU Council, are ready to present a united front in Europe, particularly on the most important issues on the EU agenda, starting with migrants. The two heads of government confirmed their common position on the need to tackle the ‘external dimension’ of irregular flows, i.e. to work directly with the countries of departure and transit on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Another central theme of the talks was Ukraine, on which Meloni spent not only confirming her unwavering support for Kiev against the Russian invasion but also ‘thanking Poland’ for all it is doing, hosting refugees, ensuring safe transits for goods and supporting the country militarily.



A merit that is not always recognised by the EU, according to Meloni, who, on the other hand, emphasised that it is unfair to put pressure on Warsaw given the current international situation in which Poland is in the front line.

However, there are also some European balances to be preserved. Balances of high strategic value, such as those for the NRP. This is why Meloni knows that the Rome-Brussels axis must not be shaken. And it is also for this reason that she has steered clear of the political ‘advances’ made by her ally Salvini towards Marine Le Pen in European terms during their meeting in recent days. Salvini, during his meeting with the French nationalist, brought the frost down after his invocations of a common house of the centre-right in Europe, winking at the Rassemblement National and the Germans of Alternative Fur Deutschland, the political forces with which, instead, for Forza Italia ‘any agreement is impossible’, as clarified by the leader of Forza Italia Antonio Tajani. Giorgia Meloni was also decidedly cold towards the Salvini proposal, clarifying that “there are no negotiations underway”.

Turning the gaze to national borders, Prime Minister Meloni is observing developments in the insidious querelle that has broken out over the Santanché case. The Minister of Tourism’s harangue to defend herself in Parliament against the accusations made by a journalistic enquiry focusing on the entrepreneurial mismanagement of her companies has not silenced the controversy. On the contrary. The M5S has also filed a motion of no-confidence, but the majority, for now, is squaring off. The political solution of a reshuffle, however, cannot be ruled out. Meloni, so far, has not yet expressed herself.

The general context in which politics is moving is that of an Italy that, according to the ISTAT overview released on Friday morning, is getting older and older: the average age has risen from 45.7 years to 46.4 years between the beginning of 2020 and the beginning of 2023. The figure emerges in spite of the high number of deaths in the last three years, more than 2.1 million, 89.7 per cent of which involve people over 65. Moreover, in 2022, the estimated life expectancy at birth is 80.5 years for men and 84.8 years for women. Signs of confidence, on the other hand, regarding the economy. GDP and employment are growing: at the end of 2023, GDP will be up by 1.2 per cent. Employment is at a higher level than in 2019: the collapse due to the pandemic is behind us even if we still remain at the bottom of the European ranking.