While in normal times even the most outrageous activists are hesitant to follow Godwin’s law of making comparisons to the Hitler and Mussolini era, they were quick to label the new Italian Iron Lady a fascist. Like a doll wrapped in the tricolour flame so dear to Benito Mussolini nostalgics, Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia party has emerged from Gianfranco Fini’s Alleanza Nazionale, itself a child of the Italian Social Movement, and which is itself a resurgence of the Duce’s dictatorship.
Although observers are waiting until the new Italian government has been formed and its first measures introduced to decide whether it embodies post (or neo) fascism, there is no doubt that the migration issue will be an eminently symbolic challenge. The lower Italian boot and Sicily are indeed situated particularly close to the African coast, especially Libya and Tunisia.
A senior member of the Fratelli d’Italia party has already warned against “ethnic substitution” – an alternative way to say “the great replacement” – and the focus will be on ensuring an Italian-Italian birth rate. If the coalition in which Meloni operates gives her a free hand, she will try to make it harder for people to obtain Italian citizenship and tackle illegal immigration, by reserving the funds intended for North-South cooperation for these issues and demanding that Italian ports refuse to receive boats that have rescued migrants in the Mediterranean.
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A founding member of the EEC, which became the European Union, Italy, which is now sovereignist, will have to put some water in its chianti. Admittedly, projects to introduce naval blockades and hotspots designed to sort out refugees-candidates for exile as soon as they reach Africa are nothing new within the EU.
Italy, which is anxious to diversify its energy sources, will no doubt try its best to avoid offending countries such as Algeria, which is on the verge of becoming its leading gas supplier.
Lastly, the fight against illegal immigration has been at the heart of Italian policy for some 15 years, with the mixed patrols devised by the Berlusconi-Gaddafi duo, and since 2018 with the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s “immigration and security” decree law.
Nothing new for Africa under the Roman sun? Under the rays of Brussels, this far-right ideological wind has certainly blown on other states.
Under the greedy gaze of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and the enticed gaze of France’s Marine Le Pen, the party of Sweden’s Jimmie Åkesson, which steadfastly opposes immigration, came to power on 11 September. It is up to the new pan-Africanist nationalists to appropriately respond to an emerging sovereignist Europe.
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