Daniel Verdú: “You have to keep an eye on what Meloni can do in social matters”

The correspondent for EL PAÍS in Italy and the Vatican since 2017, Daniel Verdú, met virtually at the end of October with a group of subscribers to the newspaper. Together they analyzed the situation of the transalpine country after taking office as Giorgia Meloni Prime Minister. This meeting is part of the program of exclusive activities of EL PAÍS+ and was moderated by the journalist Andrea Nogueira.

verdu He began the meeting by making a quick compilation of the events that have led Italy to elect the extremist Brothers of Italy, a group led by Meloni, as head of government. “The origin dates back to 2016 when the then Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, wanted to reform the Constitution and said that if that reform was not approved, he would resign,” said the journalist. In that resignation “all the populist winds” that were already growing in Italy, as in the rest of Europe, slipped in. After the passage of two executives led by Giuseppe Conte’s 5-Star Movement, Mario Draghi formed a government that brought together many parties, but not the Brothers of Italy who, with Giorgia Meloni, exercised “a very vigorous opposition.” Draghi’s government fell because it governed with “a series of parties that at a given moment decided to take advantage of the results that the polls gave them to govern.” Thanks to this, Meloni has become the first woman to chair the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic and she has broken a glass ceiling in Italy, “more solid than steel”, the correspondent highlighted.

The concern of the subscribers focused on the policies that Meloni can develop from now on, both internally and at European level. Verdú considers that the prime minister is “very tied” in the economic part and with practically no room for manoeuvre. As for social issues, “she will not be so much restrictive measures, but rather stimuli.” And she gave abortion as an example: “What it will do is promote birth rates and shorten the time that women have to abort.” And he added: “It is in the part of the rights is where you have to be attentive.”

Subscribers also asked what is happening to the left in Italy and the reason for its fall. “It’s very bad, it’s like unicellular animals that reproduce through splitting, splitting over and over again, creating new parties,” explained the EL PAÍS journalist. At the moment it is in a process of refounding in which it will have to decide if it is capable of truly amalgamating all the member parties or, on the contrary, a new one will emerge. This state causes the almost absence of a firm opposition to Meloni.

The disintegration of the left, the instability of the government, the economic and ideological crisis that the whole of Europe is going through… all this has caused a unease in the population that has left a fact: only 63% of Italians went to vote in the last elections. A historic abstention. “That is the definitive data of what is happening, people have stopped caring one bit about elections, politics and their ability to decide who is going to manage their destiny and that is tremendous,” said Verdú. To finish off, the correspondent warned: “That is where democracies die and authoritarianisms are born; the true drama is the loss of interest in democracy that citizens have”.

Daniel Verdú: “You have to keep an eye on what Meloni can do in social matters”