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Some observers believe that Giorgia Meloni, leader of Italy’s far-right party, is not simply falling in line with European politics but is actually setting the agenda. Fareed Zakaria of CNN has compared her influence to that previously held by Germany’s Angela Merkel. While Italy’s economic policies may not be groundbreaking, Meloni has been influential in shaping the direction of the European Union in several key areas. She has been actively involved in efforts to outsource border policing to North African countries in order to curb migration, and has received support from top EU officials such as Ursula von der Leyen. Additionally, Meloni has been a vocal opponent of the European Green Deal, leading efforts to slow or stop green policies at the EU level, and has found support from other center-right parties in these endeavors.

Meloni’s stance on environmental legislation has led to collaboration with the center-right European People’s Party, which includes the German Christian Democrats. In February, they successfully opposed a nature restoration law aimed at repairing damaged ecosystems across Europe. The center-right group has also attempted to scale back the EU’s climate commitments, particularly in relation to a ban on new combustion-engine cars. Polls indicate that center-to-far-right parties are poised to win around 50 percent of seats in the upcoming European Parliament elections. This offers the potential to break the historical dominance of center-left and center-right coalitions and form a right-wing alliance that could hold top leadership positions in the EU.

Despite the potential for cooperation among right-wing parties, many center-right leaders insist on forming alliances only with pro-EU, pro-NATO, pro-Ukraine, and pro-rule-of-law parties. This stance may exclude a significant portion of Europe’s far-right parties from collaboration. However, it opens the door for deeper engagement with Giorgia Meloni and her party. As the leader of the Italian right-wing movement, Meloni’s influence is growing within the European political landscape, particularly in shaping EU policies related to migration and environmental issues. Her ability to garner support from center-right parties suggests a potential realignment of political forces within the EU, with the center-right increasingly aligning with far-right parties on certain key issues.

Overall, Giorgia Meloni’s rise to prominence on the European political stage highlights a shift towards a more right-leaning agenda within the EU. While Italy’s economic policies may not be revolutionary, Meloni’s impact on shaping EU policies in areas such as border control and environmental legislation cannot be understated. Her ability to garner support from other center-right parties suggests a growing alliance between right-wing factions in Europe, which could potentially challenge the dominance of traditional center-left and center-right coalitions. As the EU prepares for upcoming elections and debates key issues such as migration and climate change, the influence of leaders like Meloni will continue to play a significant role in shaping the future direction of the European Union.

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