Von der Leyen ridiculed as attack on Italy’s new PM backfires on EU

Italy: von der Leyen intervention 'is why Meloni won' says Fox

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Baroness Fox believes that Ursula von der Leyen’s intervention may have contributed to Giorgia Meloni’s win in the Italian national election on Sunday. The election result has sparked concerns in Brussels that relations between Italy and the European Union could now sour.

Baroness Fox told TalkTV: “I am not somebody who is going around pointing at Meloni, saying she is marvellous. Social conservatism can come across as looking to the past and some glorious age and so on.

“There certainly is a dodgy side to this new organisation that has emerged but hugely important, this is the first democratically elected Prime Minister in Italy for 14 years.

She added: “Italy has suffered from a range of technocratic interventions when Prime Ministers are put in place cobbled together by the Italian elite and the EU, imposed on the Italian people.

“So I think this is a real reaction.  

“I think you have to respect it.

“I also think that all the ‘they’re far-right, they’re fascist’ stuff is just a way of just undermining a democratic decision.

“Ursula von der Leyen’s intervention is one of the reasons why Meloni won, it seems to me.

Baroness Fox added: “Unelected German politicians who run a superstate who then tell the Italian people they have got it wrong in an election that scares the hell out of me.”

Ursula von der Leyen issues warning to Italy over right-wing victory

With almost all results counted, Fratelli d’Italia (FdI, Brothers of Italy) led with around 26 percent of the vote, up from 4 percent in the last national election in 2018, and was by far the biggest party in the victorious conservative alliance.

FdI, which traces its roots to a post-fascist party, supplanted the Lega in the wealthy north, getting more than twice the number of votes in the key Veneto, Lombardy and Piedmont regions, where Matteo Salvini’s party has its historical strongholds.

The European Commission urged the new Italian government to stick to reform plans as it cleared the way on Tuesday for the payment of an additional 21 billion euros ($20.2 billion) in post-Covid recovery funds.

The Commission said Italy had met a series of 45 landmarks and targets in reform of areas such as public employment, procurement, tax administration, teaching and healthcare to qualify for another part of a 192 billion euro programme.

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“So congratulations, Italia, and keep up the good work! The Commission stands by you on your way to recovery,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the funding offered a unique chance to transform the Italian economy.

“I urge the next Italian Government to ensure that this opportunity is seized,” Mr Gentiloni, a former Italian prime minister, said in a statement.

Ms Meloni said before the election that there should be scope to amend the programme to reflect the impact of the energy crisis.

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