“If things go in a difficult direction, I spoke of Hungary and Poland, we have instruments,” warned the European Commission president in response to a question on Sunday’s elections in Italy. where a right/extreme right coalition is favourite.
“We will see the result of the elections, we have also just had elections in Sweden”, won by the right with the support of the far right. “My approach is that regardless of the democratically elected government, we work together,” she said during a Thursday evening visit to the American University of Princeton.
Matteo Salvini strongly replied on Friday. “What is a threat? Shameful arrogance. Respect the free, democratic and sovereign vote of the Italian people! Friends of all, valets of no one,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “Either she apologizes or she resigns,” he also told the daily Il Corriere della Sera.
The same echo with the vice-president of Forza Italia, the party of Silvio Berlusconi which has made an alliance for this election with the League and Fratelli d’Italia of Giorgia Meloni. Mrs. von der Leyen’s statements are “interference” in the campaign, judged Antonio Tajani.
Ursula von der Leyen’s spokesperson recalled on Friday that the Commission works “with any government which comes out of the elections and which is willing to work with the European Commission”. “It is absolutely clear that the president did not intervene in the Italian elections. When she referred to the instruments, she specifically referred to ongoing procedures in other countries of the European Union,” said Eric Mamer.
The European Commission has engaged in a standoff with Hungary and Poland, which it accuses of breaches of the rule of law. Brussels refuses in particular to pay them funds as long as they have not implemented the reforms requested.