MILAN (AP) — The leader of Italy’s Democratic Party warned Saturday of the threats that Italy’s right-wing nationalistic parties pose to European democracy in a video released in multiple languages, and promised that his party would keep Italy at the center of the European Union if it wins the country’s early parliamentary election next month.
The video by Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta comes days after the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, did a multilingual video of her own to dispute suggestions that her election as premier would endanger democracy in Italy and threaten the management of EU pandemic funds. Meloni, whose party controversially uses the symbol of a flame borrowed from a neo-fascist party, said in an Aug. 10 video that the Italian political right has “unambiguously” condemned the legacy of fascism.
At the moment, the center-left Democratic Party and the Brothers of Italy are the leading parties in opinion polls going into Italy’s Sept. 25 parliamentary election. Neither looks assured of having enough votes to govern alone.
While the right-wing has created a solid coalition, bringing together Brothers of Italy, Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League party and Silvio Berlusoni’s center-right Forza Italia party, the left has been foundering in this election campaign.
Letta’s deal with a would-be kingmaker fell apart within a day and his relationship with former Premier Matteo Renzi, who heads a tiny but potentially influential party, soured when Renzi maneuvered him out of the job of premier in 2014.
Letta underlined the danger to European solidity posed by vetoes and demands of unanimity posed by right-wing leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orban, who he noted is “a friend and ally of the Italian right.” Orban has used these tools to “defeat sanctions against Russia and on migration issues,” Letta said.
Letta also said the right-wing had not supported the EU pandemic funds in the European Parliament, and that Italy’s right-wing had voted against a new treaty between France and Italy aimed to put the ties at the same level as the historic Franco-German relationship that has been the engine of post-war European peace and prosperity.
“Europe has always been part of our DNA, because we believe that cooperation between countries and finding common solutions is better than finding solutions that are only national or nationalistic,’’ Letta said.
Letta launched the video in French, Spanish and English on Italy’s Ferragosto weekend holiday, when most Italians are enjoying beach or mountain vacations to mark the Aug. 15 Feast of the Assumption.