The European Union elects a new parliament on May 26. We talked with European journalists and NGOs from different European countries to get a picture of the European right wing. We asked them how their local right wing parties want to change the European Union and which marginalized group is hated the most.
Our questions were answered by Aurora Sordini from the italian human rights organization „Associazione 21 luglio„.
What right-wing parties are active in your country/participating in the European elections?
The main right-wing parties that represent a sizeable electorate and that are participating to the EU elections, and therefore that can actually elect their own candidate are: Forza Italia (right wing-liberals, a political formation that has Silvio Berlusconi as its leader); Lega (right-populist political formation that has Matteo Salvini as its leader); Fratelli d’Italia (nationalist political formation that has Giorgia Meloni as its leader). The Italian political scenario includes numerous minor right-wing and far-right groups, which are active in Italy. Of these, Casa Pound (far-right political formation that has Simone Di Stefano as its leader) participates to the European elections. Casa Pound proclaims itself as a fascist movement and stresses out far-right ideas as well as common and / or liminal themes to the right-wing major parties such as migration, security and social issues, exacerbating the tones and the content.
What are they campaigning for/what is their political agenda?
Almost all the right and far-right Italian political formations that are participating to the European elections (especially the League/Lega, Fratelli d’Italia, CasaPound) propose policies aimed at a reaffirmation of the “Italian primacy” (Italians First) in all sectors of public and social life as well as in the Italian institutions. This “neo-nationalism” with anti-European connotations, determined also by several social problems that were never completely resolved or faced by the main Italian political and national institutional actors over decades, has been emphasised by electoral campaigns based on social, economic, security and labour issues. Other issues dealt during the current campaign are: housing, education system, birth and family support issues. The “sovereign” connotation is also present in the the right wing and far-right electoral campaigns. Thus, the European Union is seen as a supranational entity that imposes policies with a top-down approach, detached from the concrete problems of the Italian citizens, putting vetoes and interfering within Italian national and local policies, in the detriment of the Italians and in favour of some European countries (France and Germany, specifically).
What is their main topic for the European elections?
Despite the various issues on which the right and extreme right parties campaigns are based on, the two issues on which they are mainly focused, publicly and mediatically, are: immigration/security and, in minor part, social, labour and housing issues from the perspective of the “First Italians” motto. By proposing national policies aimed at assuring to the Italian citizens the “primacy” of national rights and laws, social, labour and housing issues are basically detached and disconnected from issues discussed in Europe the European issues, representing more a national need of translating inner problems outward. Instead, the “illegal” immigration issue appears to be dealt with a security and restrictive approach by the right and far right parties, also connecting this theme to European institutional responsibilities in handling migration fluxes. Right and far-right parties, in their elector campaigns, stress out security issues by the means of the existence of several Roma settlements in Italy. Thus, the closure of the Roma camps is envisaged with the implementation of an emergency approach, in so doing, risking to violate the human rights of those Roma living in institutional and informal settlements as well as to exacerbate their social vulnerability.
What marginalised groups does their campaign oppose the most?
The marginalized groups on which the right and far-right parties focus their campaigns are mainly migrants and Roma communities. The envisaged policies exposed in their electoral campaigns are based on an emergency and securitarian management of the migration phenomenon (Stop Invasion). Furthermore, the policies envisaged in their electoral campaigns regarding Roma issues, especially in reference to those living segregated within Roma camps, de facto feed a climate of hatred and intolerance against Roma people, depicting them as thieves, non-integrated or integrable people or as social parasite. Within the electoral campaigns of right and far-right parties, one may highlight the absence of any kind of social-inclusive policies proposals for those Roma living in camps. In so doing, the closure or the “overcome” of Roma settlement risks to implement several human rights violations.
How do they propose to change the EU?
According to the right and far right parties participating to the EU elections, the EU must be reformed in terms of giving national autonomy to its members in political, economic and social decision-making processes as well as through a clear separation in some fields and/or exit from the EU area. Specifically, on immigration, they propose a sharp contrast to the policies carried out through the Dublin Regulation.
How good do you think their chances are in the elections?
In the absence of an effective and real opposition by the progressive/left forces and parties, the current political scenario can lead to a general affirmation of the right parties in the European elections, also in light of the fact that the Right-wing populists parties are riding the social impulses and malaise that a large part of Italian society is experiencing right now. The “First Italians” motto has undermined some mechanisms, bringing and increasing some instances coming from civil society, that are currently channeled by right wing forces.
All english texts on the European Election 2019:
Text in German: