From EU to immigration: What Italy’s next government might do
Italy’s right-wing coalition is expected to take a tough line on immigration, and call for EU reform, but will back Ukraine.
A right-wing coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party has emerged victorious in the country’s general election.
The far-right Brothers are projected to have secured 26 percent of the vote in Sunday’s poll, with coalition partners Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League, and Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia, each picking up enough support to give the alliance a parliamentary majority.
The results will be confirmed on Monday with the new government, the most right wing since the Second World War, set to be formed by the middle of November.
Here are the main points of the joint programme the coalition partners agreed on ahead of the election campaign.
The scale of Meloni’s success – topping the polls, well ahead of her allies – is likely to affect the way in which the policies are implemented.
Salvini and Berlusconi have long been close to Russia but the coalition programme emphasises respect for commitments made as part of NATO and – a key point for Meloni – support for Ukraine following Russia’s February 24 invasion.
It also backs support for all initiatives to find a solution to the conflict.
With Meloni and Salvini’s parties eurosceptic, the programme commits to “full adherence to the European integration process” while seeking a “more political and less bureaucratic” bloc.
It also calls for a review of EU rules on public spending and economic governance.
Furthermore, it calls for the defence and promotion of Europe’s “Judeo-Christian” and classical roots.
Economy and social
The programme says Italy should make full use of the almost 200 billion euros ($193bn) it has been allotted under the EU’s recovery plan in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it talks about changing the agreement with Brussels, noting there are “changed conditions”, such as the rising cost of energy and raw materials.
It calls for a reduction in the tax burden for families, businesses and the self-employed, including a flat tax for the latter.
The citizens’ income, an unemployment benefit introduced under the populist Five Star Movement, will be abolished.
The programme also calls for a revaluation of the minimum pension, and social and disability payments.
As inflation soars, there is also a promise to protect the purchasing power of families, workers and pensions, and reduce taxes on energy products.
Security and immigration
The right-wing coalition has said public safety is a priority, promising to fight everything from petty crime to mafias, violence against women and the sale and distribution of illicit drugs.
They have also committed to fighting any form of anti-Semitism and Muslim fundamentalism.
Immigration has been a big part of Meloni and Salvini’s campaigns with promises of stricter border controls, blocking boat landings and establishing EU-managed centres outside the bloc to evaluate asylum applications.
At the same time, they have said they will manage legal migration in a more orderly way, including programmes on the inclusion of new arrivals.
Energy and environment
Energy emerged as a key issue during campaigning, with many Italians worrying about how they would pay their bills as the country heads into the colder months.
Russian gas accounts for 40 percent of Italy’s imports and is under strain from the Ukraine war, the coalition has said it would increase the production of renewable energy.
They have provided little detail, however, saying only that they will diversify energy supplies and implement a plan for energy-self sufficiency, including the use of resources within Italy, such as natural gas.
They have said they will also consider the use of nuclear power.
The coalition wants to change the constitution so that Italians vote for their president. The position is currently appointed by parliament.
The programme includes a reference to move towards more regional autonomy, a key issue for Salvini’s League.
It also calls for reform of the justice system to ensure the “reasonable duration” of trials.
Italy’s population has been declining, and the coalition has promised measures to encourage people to have more children.
Its plans include free nurseries, employment protection for young mothers, an increase in welfare payments for families, and support for families with disabled people who are dependents.