European Union (EU) Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s statement after the elections that “if Italy goes in a difficult direction, they have the tools to do so” drew the reaction of Italian politicians.
Von der Leyen gave a speech at Princeton University in the USA yesterday.
When asked if he was worried about the elections in Italy, Von der Leyen stated that they work with all democratic governments and said that “if things go in a difficult direction, they can resort to tools like in the examples of Hungary and Poland”.
Von der Leyen’s words sparked outrage in Italy, where general elections will be held on Sunday. Many Italian politicians reacted to the President of the EU Commission.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League Party, which appears in the third place in the polls and is one of the parties likely to come to power with the right alliance, went to the EU’s representation in Rome in the evening with a group of party members.
Speaking to reporters here, Salvini said, “Italy deserves respect. Three days before the elections, threats, blackmail are unacceptable. A person who should represent all of Europe, Italy, says, ‘If the Italians vote badly, how can we stop it? they know they will intervene.’ As all Italians, we expect an apology from the President of the EU Commission for his embarrassing, threatening and blackmailing words.” he said.
The leader of the League Party, stating that they will vote freely and democratically with their minds, said that the authorities in Europe should respect the vote of the Italians.
Salvini of Von der Leyen: “We either apologize or demand his resignation.” said.
Some party members also opened banners with the words “Ursula out” and “Ashamed” in front of the EU representative office.
Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy Party, who is shown as the favorite of the election, blamed his opponents for the statements of Von der Leyen and said, “The responsibility for Von der Leyen belongs to the Italian left, which travels around the world to denigrate Italy in order to win the elections. This is unacceptable.” said.
Democratic Party (PD) leader Enrico Letta also asked Von der Leyen to clarify his words.
Ettore Rosato, Coordinator of Italia Viva, one of the central parties, also noted that it would be better for Von der Leyen to be interested in Europe.
Poland and Hungary, which von der Leyen mentioned in his speech in the USA, have been criticized by the EU for a while on the grounds that there is a regression in democratic principles. The EU introduces methods such as fines and cutting their share from the budget against these countries.