With the exceedingly crucial European Parliamentary election drawing nearer, Georgia Meloni—Italy’s prime minister who also serves as the leader of the European Conservative and Reformists (ECR) political grouping—is working to forge an alliance with the European People’s Party (EPP), a political grouping which over the years has continually drifted to the liberal-left.
Meloni, along with her EPP counterpart Manfred Weber, an MEP for the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), met in Rome last Thursday, January 5th, following the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to continue working toward the construction of an ECR-EPP axis as the all-important 2024 European Parliament election looms, the Italian online newspaper L’Edicola del Sud reports.
The gathering marks the second time in less than two months the two European parliamentary group leaders have met. On November 11th, Meloni and Weber met in an official capacity for the first time at government headquarters in Rome.
Following the Qatargate scandal, in which the former Greek Vice President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili (S&D) was charged with taking cash bribes from Qatari government officials in exchange for helping the autocratic regime revamp its less-than-stellar international image, Meloni has sought to dismantle the previously iron-clad alliance between the center-Right liberals, the EPP, and the center-Left liberals, the Socialist & Democrats (S&D).
The Belgian judiciary is allegedly investigating more than 60 MEPs, most of whom are members of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) grouping, The European Conservative previously reported.
Meloni has called the scandal a “socialist job and not an Italian job.”
Government sources, according to a report the Greek newspaper Adnkronos, have explained that the meeting between Meloni and Weber “follows work that has been going on for some time.”
Speaking on the nascent alliance, the Greek newspaper writes that “the first ‘brick’ was laid in January 2022, when an agreement between the EPP and ECR brought Robert a Metsola, a member of the EPP, to the highest seat in the European Parliament.”
EU Affairs Minister and MEP Raffaele Fitto, a member of Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), is said to have excellent relations with Weber and thus is playing a crucial role in helping to strengthen ties between the two political groupings.
Following the Thursday’s meeting, Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of Forza Italia, which is a key partner in Meloni’s ruling center-Right coalition, said: “We discussed all the issues the EU was dealing with and shared our concerns.” He added that he was “very please to hear from Weber the importance given to Forza Italia in the EPP and in Europe.”
Francesco Giubilei, a prominent Italian author, publisher, who also serves as a special advisor to the Italian Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano (FdI), explained to The European Conservative:
The 2024 European elections are a crucial date for the future of the European Union, the goal is to succeed in changing the policies of the current EU, and to do so a new majority is needed. The new majority may be formed by the People’s Party, Conservative and Reformists, and Identity and Democracy. The rapprochement between the ECR and the EPP and the Meloni-Weber talks should be seen as a step taken toward this end. The goal is to create an axis between the EPP and ECR, just ahead of the 2024 European elections. However, I do not think this will lead to a single group but probably to a common strategy at the European level.
Speaking to Adnkronos about the budding alliance, FdI MEP Nicola Procaccini, said: “The dialogue between Conservatives and Populars continues and is strengthened also thanks to the fact that the two political forces are consolidating in their respective countries.
“The 2024 vote will represent the last chance to have a European Parliament that takes the Union along the lines we have always hoped for: a model of Europe that does not humiliate nations but takes them into due consideration; that deals with less but more important things. Do less, do better: this has always been our motto,” the MEP added.