Low taxes, EU reform and support for Ukraine — here are the main points of the joint programme agreed by the right-wing coalition that triumphed in Sunday’s elections in Italy.
They were agreed in advance by Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy, Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League, and Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia.
But Meloni’s success — topping the polls, well ahead of her allies — will likely affect how and if they are implemented.
– Foreign policy –
Salvini and Berlusconi have long been close to Russia but the programme emphasises respect for commitments made as part of NATO and, a key point for Meloni, support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion.
It also backs support for all initiatives to find a solution to the conflict.
With Meloni and Salvini’s parties both eurosceptic, the programme commits to “full adherence to the European integration process” while seeking a “more political and less bureaucratic” bloc.
It also calls for a review of EU rules on public spending and economic governance.
Furthermore, it calls for the defence and promotion of Europe’s “Judeo-Christian” and classical roots.
– Economy and social –
The programme says Italy should make full use of the almost 200 billion euros ($193 billion) it has been earmarked under the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan.
But it talks about changing the agreement with Brussels, which requires major structural reforms in return for the money. It says there are “changed conditions”, noting rising costs of energy and raw materials.
It calls for a reduction in the tax burden for families, businesses and the self-employed, including a flat tax for the latter.
The citizens’ income, an unemployment benefit introduced under the populist Five Star Movement, will be abolished.
The programme also calls for a revaluation of the minimum pension, social and disability payments.
As inflation soars, there is also a promise to protect the purchasing power of families, workers and pensions, and reduce VAT on energy products.
– Institutions –
The coalition wants to change the constitution to ensure election by universal suffrage of the president, Italy’s head of state who is currently chosen by parliament.
The programme includes a reference to move towards more regional autonomy, a key issue for Salvini’s League.
It also calls for reform of the justice system to ensure the “reasonable duration” of trials.
– Families –
Italy has a declining population and the coalition vows to support the birth rate with measures including free nurseries.
It also calls for employment protection for young mothers, an increase in welfare payments for families, and support for families with disabled dependents.
– Security and immigration –
Public safety is a priority, with the coalition vowing to fight everything from petty crime to mafias and terrorism, violence against women and the sale and diffusion of illegal drugs.
They also pledge to fight any form of anti-Semitism and Islamic fundamentalism.
Meloni and Salvini have both made fighting mass migration a major part of their campaigns. The coalition pledges border controls and blocking boat landings to stop human trafficking — in agreement with North African nations.
They also want to create EU-managed centres outside the bloc to evaluate asylum applications.
At the same time, they pledge the more orderly management of legal migration flows, including promotion of the inclusion of new arrivals.
– Energy and environment –
With Italy’s reliance on Russian gas increasingly untenable due to the Ukraine war, the coalition pledges to increase the production of renewable energy, without details.
They say only that they will diversify energy supplies and implement a plan for energy-self sufficiency, including using Italy’s national resources, such as natural gas.
They will consider the use of clean and safe nuclear power.
© Agence France-Presse