EU elections: German events make final pitches

June 7, 2024

Von der Leyen warned against relying on Meloni’s Italian populists

Lars Klingbeil, a co-leader of Germany’s center-left Social Democrats, has warned EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen not to rely on votes from the right-wing populist party of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to be re-elected as the leader of the 27-member bloc’s executive.

“If Mrs von der Leyen ends up seeking her majority in parliament with the right-wing extremists, then we cannot elect her,” said Klingbeil in a Reuters TV interview published on Friday.

When asked whether he also considered Meloni’s party, Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), to be right-wing extremist, Klingbeil said it was “a post-fascist party.” 

Meloni must be accepted as the elected head of government of Italy, he said.

“But that does not mean that I like her politics, her past, and her political orientation,” Klingbeil added.

When she was younger, Meloni was a party activist for the youth wing of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement.

Aged 19, she was filmed saying she believed wartime dictator Benito Mussolini was a “good politician.”

“Everything he did, he did for Italy,” she said at the time.