After the elections in Italy, a look at the state of the European right today

The apparent victory of the Giorgia Meloni, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi coalition in the elections in Italy could mark a new high point for the wider right in Europe, which is fighting back and forth with the liberal left establishment across the continent. since 2016.

Meloni, of Italy’s conservative National Brotherhood (FdI), won less than 5% of the vote in 2018 but now leads her country’s largest party and looks set to become its first female prime minister, backed by the League of Matteo Salvini. (Lega) and Forza Italia by Silvio Berlusconi.

A shameless anti-mass migration social conservative who owes at least part of his rise to popularity to a refusal to back the previous technocratic government like most other major parties in the country, marking his imposition of restrictions and punitive mandates on “the unvaccinated state”. blackmail”, the election of Meloni could truly overturn the established order in the European Union – more perhaps than even Brexit in 2016.

Conservatism in Britain

The British people voted to leave the European Union in 2016 – against the outspoken insistence of all major political parties in Britain, the establishment press, the European Union, Barrack Obama and many others. This deprived the bloc of one of its biggest contributors to the budget, but the British government never put up much opposition to the real agenda of the bloc from within when it could.

The Conservative (Conservative) party, in power since 2010, has often vocally opposed the continued erosion of EU national sovereignty, but has always finally accepted power-grabbing EU treaties like Lisbon, and n clearly was not troubled by the fact that in 72 attempts to vote against EU-level measures in the European Council over a 20-year period, UK governments have been defeated 72 times.

Indeed, even with Boris Johnson having delivered a half-Brexit, leaving Brussels with great control over Northern Ireland and continued access to British fishing, among other concessions, the maligned ‘hard right’ post-Brexit governments by the left-wing press have failed to challenge the established order internationally and have continued to follow the net zero, mass migration and social justice playbook at home.

Ironically, more resistance to the EU and more internal change has been achieved by the post-communist member states of Central Europe, which arguably owe the bloc more than anyone else.

central Europe

While the European Union did much to lift the Central European states out of the post-Soviet depression, there is no doubt that this support came at a huge political cost: the ever-closer union and eventual federalization that saw Britain decide to call it a day in 2016. The recent history of Hungary and Poland as satellites of a massive political empire – the same Soviet Union – has made countries like them more sensitive than most to the central approach of Brussels.

While their governments often court controversy abroad for adopting policies that may be deeply out of date in Brussels or Washington, they at least seem to deliver on their campaign promises, a rare thing in democracies anywhere. be. It has seen those national-conservative parties – and watch out, right-wing leaders everywhere – re-elected time and time again, and often with large majorities.

While the nations they lead may be relatively small, or not at the forefront of global importance, in terms of effective conservative leadership and electoral success, there can be few better examples. Unlike the US or the UK, for example, which constantly flounder over border control and how to implement it, Poland realized it needed a border wall last year. , then built one. And it was as simple as that.

It wasn’t like it was a new idea: Hungary went through the same process in 2015 as Europe’s migrant crisis unfolded: a brief process of identifying an emerging problem, deploying an immediate and effective solution — reducing illegal immigration by 99% at once — then taking advantage of an increase in votes from voters convinced that the government is capable of doing what it says.

Another area in which Central European conservatives absolutely dominate the world is family policy: understanding that the family is the basic unit of a healthy and functioning society and that giving families the space to grow is an alternative to mass migration if population growth is an objective. Poland and Hungary have both enacted considerable family aids: giving couples the freedom to have as many children as they wish.

Among these support programs in Poland are generous monthly government payments for childcare, a special state pension for mothers who choose to raise a family rather than work, and even subtle changes in the law to help families to spend more time together. This is also happening in Hungary, with higher child support rates for large families, more family car subsidies for those in need, and improved housing allowances.

One of the most radical programs in Hungary is the family loan: a considerable payment ($35,000) granted to women under the age of 40 who marry for the first time, with a third of the opening balance canceled by the government for every child born.

These measures have already been found to have an impact on birth rates.

But there are also problems. While Hungary has been radical in tax reform, with a low flat rate of 16% introduced in 2012, Poland has lagged in this area, charging double on income over $17,000.

There are also dubious commitments on the world stage. While Hungary’s energy policy – no matter where it comes from, as long as it’s cheap – is absolutely no different from that pursued by Germany for decades, it sticks to Russian gas cheap, plentiful but politically tainted Ukraine’s war era is debatable. Similar worries are shared by conservatives abroad about Hungary’s willingness to take money from China, a situation no doubt accelerated by other more natural sources of funding like Brussels and Washington being reluctant.

Rightly cautious of Beijing, the 2021 Budapest university money controversy has left many on the right wary of the direction Hungary is headed.

rest in the west

In 2017, nascent national conservative and national populist parties seemed poised to make inroads in a number of Western European countries facing social disintegration in the face of mass migration and multiculturalism.

However, Marine Le Pen in France, the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, the Swedish Democrats in Sweden, Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany, all seemed to stagnate – in fact, in Germany, conservative Angela Merkel in name only The government-led government has now been replaced by an openly left-liberal coalition – appearing either to have plateaued or to have made only minimal gains since the heyday of Brexit and Trump.

It is true that the Swedish Democrats, at least, managed to make gains in the recent Swedish elections – but they did so by making major concessions, particularly on the EU and national sovereignty, and will be committed to the so-called “center” right-wing parties are unlikely to grant them any real influence if they are part of a new right-wing coalition in this troubled country.

However, one country appears to be on the cusp of an Italian-style conservative revolution, with Santiago Abascal’s VOX party surging from less than 1% of the vote in 2016 to polling as the second most popular party in the country. country and influence or participation in a number of regional governments – a rise similar to that of Meloni.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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