×

Eurosceptic populist win in Italy is a natural response to Brussels’ authoritarianism

Georgia Meloni’s right-wing populist coalition just defeated the establishment in Italian parliamentary elections, despite European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s comment a few days ago suggesting that the European Union has “tools” to deal with those who don’t fall in line with the agenda of unelected authoritarian bureaucrats like her.

If the world is wondering how Italy could have possibly voted for what’s largely being described as the most right-wing government since Benito Mussolini during the second World War, one need only consider what the Italy-first eurosceptic winners stand against.

EU officials have repeatedly made it known that their objective is to bring Russia to its knees by depriving it of revenue, including from energy sales to the EU. Von der Leyen herself has never stopped talking about it. Yet on the down-low, France, for example, has been discreetly importing liquefied natural gas from Russia, and Germany has been the top EU importer of Russian fossil fuels. The EU has conveniently avoided evoking the fact that for all its anti-Russian bluster, it still needs Russian gas and has no viable replacement for it. In other words, the EU publicly broke off its relationship with Russia and told the world that it was a strong, independent bloc that was ready to head out into the geopolitical dating world. In recent months, European leaders have courted energy-rich Canada, Qatar, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Azerbaijan. But because none can fully satisfy their needs, they had been quietly relying on their one-sided relationship with Russian gas via Nord Stream 1, and no doubt hoping that the public doesn’t question the hypocrisy.

But as is often the case with one-sided relationships there’s a risk that someday one party gets tired of being exploited and kept on the hook — while the other party publicly pretends that there’s no relationship — and just cuts the connection completely, refusing to answer the phone or the door.

That’s exactly what’s happened here, and von der Leyen is now crying to the entire planet about Russia being like some kind of an abusive partner when all Moscow did was say no to any further exploitation amid the EU’s constant badmouthing, threatening, and undermining (although the EU can still continue to import Russian energy via China). The EU is arming Ukraine on Russia’s doorstep, but apparently still wants Russia to fling open that door and fulfill Brussels’ needs on command.

The fallout from Brussels’ games — for itself — is already shaping up to be ugly, and well-ahead of the energy-guzzling winter heating season. Skyrocketing energy bills aren’t just hitting citizens’ pocketbooks and forcing shutdowns of industrial operations across the bloc and most notably at the heart of its economic engine, Germany — but even the most basic daily routines, normally taken for granted, are already being upended as energy prices and inflation climb and governments from Germany to France to Italy have warned that inevitable suffering lies ahead. Except that it’s far from inevitable. It’s being shoved down the throats of Europeans by their own leaders as they kowtow to Brussels’ anti-Russian ideological dogmatism.

Of course there are those who would say that “first world problems” like energy bills, rolling blackouts, and swimming pool closures pale in comparison to problems that the people of Ukraine are currently enduring under the weight of conflict and displacement. But this shouldn’t be a contest to see who can win a pointless race to the bottom. Western officials have yet to provide any convincing evidence of a direct correlation between the hardship imposed on their own citizens and any improvements in the lives of Ukrainians.

And yet mindsets are already being prepared by leaders who embrace globalism to settle for even less. French President Emmanuel Macron announced recently that energy rationing plans were being drawn up just “in case”, and that “cuts will happen as a last resort.” But Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has already contoured a scenario of potential two-hour rolling power cuts for households and energy rationing for businesses. The tag-team rhetoric sounds a lot like it did during the Covid crisis when Macron and his health minister initially said that daily life wouldn’t be conditioned on a vaccine pass — right up until they reversed course and did exactly that. It’s hard not to believe that the worst is yet to come.

In its effort to avoid peace and diplomacy in favor of a poorly conceived and questionably effective economic war against Russia, the EU has dragged its citizens onto the battlefield and is now scrambling to avoid mass casualties. The people of Italy have just made the electoral choice to place their own country’s interests above those of establishment globalists. Here’s hoping that it’s just the first of many more establishment dominoes to fall.

Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of independently produced talk shows. Her website can be found at www.rachelmarsden.com.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today