The Five Star Movement, a political party skeptical of the merits of the European Union, finished first in Italy’s general elections on Sunday, with 33 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s Democratic Party finished far behind, at only 18 percent, after having scored 40 percent just four years ago. Another anti-immigrant, EU-skeptic party, The League, won enough votes for the two anti-EU parties to form a coalition government.
Coalition governments are the norm in Italy, as it is nearly impossible for one party to win a majority on its own in the country’s multi-party parliamentary system. But as Alex Newman reported in The New American the day after the elections, “The two common threads among the victors in Italy’s election are suspicion of the increasingly oppressive EU, as well as fierce opposition to mass Islamic immigration and open borders. Despite the results, though, establishment media organs continue to refer to the victors as ‘far right,’ inadvertently revealing the fact that most of the press — not just in Italy, but across the Western world — is on the far left of the political spectrum and way out of touch with every day people.”
Even the ruling party ran against the policies of the EU in the election, but in the end, that opposition was apparently too little and too late. It is clear that many Italians are simply fed up with the EU’s pro-immigration policies, and the meddling by the EU in their internal affairs.
What does this mean for the future of the EU? While there are no immediate plans for Italy to leave the EU, following the British, it could happen now that the government so openly dislikes the EU. Certainly Italy does not have the clout of the British (which had the second-largest economy of any member nation in the EU, behind Germany), and it is not in the same league as Germany, or even France. Still, coupled with the secession of Britain, an Italian exit from the EU could very well touch off the dominoes, so to speak.
Rumblings of discontent are spreading across the continent. The elites who run the EU breathed a sigh of relief when anti-EU candidate Marine La Pen failed to win the presidency in France, but there will be elections again in the future. It is unlikely that anti-EU sentiment in France will decline. It is more likely that it will only increase, as unpopular EU policies such as immigration and meddling in internal affairs of member nations continue.
Just six months ago, in Austria, elections favored those who vowed to oppose both mass migration and the EU.
Government leaders in Hungary and Poland have also publicly denounced the efforts of the EU to dilute their countries' national sovereignty, especially in the area of immigration from the Middle East. They also condemned the growing globalist hostility to the Christian faith.
“People who love their freedom must save Brussels [the headquarters of the increasingly powerful and despotic EU] from Sovietization, from people who want to tell us who should live within our countries,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in 2016 on the commemoration of the 1956 anti-communist rebellion that was crushed by Soviet tanks. Orban is a major critic of the EU, and a special critic of the recent wave of migrants into Europe, arguing that the survival of freedom is dependent upon the maintenance of the nation-state and the upholding of Christianity.
EU critics point to examples such as a decision last September by the European Court of Justice to make member nations take in asylum seekers from the Middle East. Two EU nations, Slovakia and Hungary, filed complaints to oppose the decision of the EU to order national governments in Europe to accept a quota of so-called refugees, mostly from Syria.
Nearly 80 percent of the migrants and refugees have come to Italy, which partially explains the growing tide of anti-EU feelings in that country.
The EU’s history can be traced back to the 1950s, sold as a simple trade union, but it has moved steadily in the direction of a one-continent government, with the EU dictating not only trade issues, but also social policy throughout the continent among the member states. The elites who have driven this move toward the political union of Europe have been indignant at any opposition to this goal. Another EU opponent in Britain, European Parliament member Daniel Hannan, arguing in favor of Brexit, said, “Consider the EU’s response whenever a referendum goes against closer integration, as in Denmark, France, Ireland, or the Netherlands. Public opinion is treated as an obstacle to overcome, not a reason to change direction.”
Hannan’s remarks are no doubt correct. The globalist elites who run the EU will not meekly accept circumstances if Italy, or some other member nation, decides to follow the British in seceding from the European super-state. And they have demonstrated their power in the past. Despite her leading the Conservative Party to multiple victories at the polls, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was ousted in a Conservative Party “coup” in November 1990 when she dared to oppose increased European political integration.
At the time, Thatcher opposed the Maastrict Treaty, which established the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice. “The treaty will hand over more powers to unelected bureaucrats, and erode the freedoms of ordinary men and women in this country,” she said.
It is clear that the EU, the “United States of Europe,” is not intended as a limited government, with respect for individual liberty. Rather it is a growing authoritarian regime.
Hopefully, the Italians will leave the EU, and precipitate other nations to do the same, eventually leading to the demise of the EU itself. For Americans, the lessons are clear. We do not need closer integration with the other nations of the western hemisphere, with some type of North American Union, or any similar agreement.