Washington Post columnist David Ignatius told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday that the rise of a new right-wing leader of Italy is part of much wider discontent with out-of-touch leadership in the European Union.
Giorgia Meloni is set to become Italy’s new prime minister, one of many recent political victories for the rising populist right-wing rising across Europe. The victory set off a panic in many news outlets, as some commentators have responded with comparisons to Benito Mussolini and fascism.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that these right-wing victories across Europe represent “illiberal forces pushing back and fighting western democracy.”
He recounted that “We’ve seen what’s been happening in Hungary over the past several years, saw what happened in Sweden last week, what happened in Italy yesterday. You have Sweden and Italy, two countries that were founded on fascism. Now, they’re going to be running those countries.”
The kingdom of Sweden, it should be noted, was founded as a monarchy, not a fascist state, in the 16th century.
Ignatius, while claiming Meloni’s party “has its roots in Italian fascism,” noted it is part of a large shift in European politics from France to Sweden, “There’s a populist rage that’s sweeping across Europe as much as it swept across America in the 2016 election.”
He suggested that this shift has been a long time coming.
“Now for 20 or 30 years, you’ve had a movement by ordinary Europeans who say, ‘I’m not comfortable being governed from Brussels. I don’t want to give up my country. I don’t want to be part of something that’s supranational,’” he said.
“Every time that’s put to a test with voters in France, when they were asked to support the new European Constitution, they rejected it. In Britain, Britain was so angry about the European Union, it left the European Union,” he said.
Ignatius suggested that now this same phenomenon has come to Italy.
“And same now in Italy, the biggest appeal that Giorgia Meloni, the head of this new coalition has, is saying, ‘We are not comfortable being governed by Brussels. We’re Italians, even to the point of saying we may not want to use Euros as our money.’ That’s not a new theme in Europe,” he claimed.
“It’s one that’s been building and building, and to some extent it’s because the people in Brussels, who are part of the European Union, just don’t listen to ordinary folks. I hate to say that, but that’s a part of the story we should remember,” he said.