Italian election 2018: What would Berlusconi mean for Brexit and EU if he wins?

Posted on Mar 4 2018 - 11:11am by admin

Silvio Berlusconi’s party Forza Italia (FI) is currently third place in the polls, with 15.9 percent of the vote, which is not enough to form a majority government.

FI is allied with Matteo Salvini’s Lega, a right-wing party that has modelled itself as an anti-immigrant, eurosceptic party and Brothers of Italy which has a strong focus on immigration. 

The parties hold between 35 to 37 percent of the vote, latest polls show, however Lega and Brothers of Italy hold far more Eurosceptic views compared to FI.

However in a move that will send a calming message to EU allies, Britain and financial markets that any centre-right government would not be hostile to the European Union, Berlusconi has announced European Parliament President Antonio Tajani would be his choice to head any future government.

Tajani is a moderate figure who would reassure EU capitals alarmed by the anti-European rhetoric coming from Berlusconi’s allies. 

Berlusconi said: “I know it’s a shame to take Antonio Tajani away from Europe but it’s in the best interest of Italy.”

In the past, Berlusconi has said the UK leaving the bloc would be a “very serious, dangerous decision”.

After the result of the EU referendum he said “the decision taken by the Brits points out that the European dream is failing. Members of the bloc must act immediately to rebuild a stronger and better union”.

In the past Berlusconi held a less favourable view on the EU, criticising Brussels and wanting to hold a referendum in the midst of a political crisis, Dr Paolo Cossarini, a teaching fellow in Politics and International Relations at Loughborough University said.

However, his view on the EU has since softened, his party is pro-EU, however it wants fewer ties and obligations towards Europe.

When Berlusconi returned to politics in 2016, he had a pro-Europe agenda of more common defence, foreign, industrial and fiscal policies and a continued membership in the Euro. However his party wants to see more reform in Europe. 

Forza Italia wants to cut taxes and stop fiscal austerity and get the country out of the financial crisis and they believe Italy should have more power in Europe and wants to be considered a major player in the EU as it was one of the founders of the community.

Dr Cossarini explained a Berlusconi win would not really affect Brexit, it is more dependant on EU big players such as Germany and France and the new government in Germany.

He said: “It wouldn’t mean any big change to Brexit if Berlusconi won. He wants a soft Brexit as he knows a hard Brexit would break down.”

Leave A Response