Nicolas Schmit: “The right threatens the EU Meloni a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Salvini is Putin’s friend”

Nicolas Schmit: “The right threatens the EU Meloni a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Salvini is Putin’s friend”

Rome – Giorgia Meloni is «a wolf in sheep’s clothing. She has never really distanced herself from fascism”, she is a woman of the far right. The EPP and Ursula von der Leyen are playing a double game on this: with one hand they point to the sovereignist danger and on the other they try to ally themselves with them. And “the right is endangering the European project and liberal democracy.” The Luxembourger Nicola Schmit is European Commissioner for Labor but from today he will be the “Spitzenkandidat”, i.e. the sole candidate of the European socialists for the presidency of the Commission.

Why did you agree to be a spitzenkandidat?

«First of all, I believe a lot in Europe. I believe that we must continue on the path started by this Commission on social policy, on the Green Deal, and also on this new green social contract. It’s a mission I couldn’t refuse.”

Are you saying this because you fear that the European Project is in danger?

“Yes. For a long time we thought it was irreversible. Democracy isn’t either. We also see this in several countries within the European Union. We must mobilize, explain to citizens that the EU is not something far from them. And we must fight the far right which has only one agenda: to destroy what has been built.”

Nationalists and sovereignists?

“Of course, but also those who would like to build a relationship with them play a double game: they hold out a hand on one side and defend the Union with the other.”

Are you referring to the EPP? Are popular people ambiguous?

«Clarification is needed. There are no good and bad nationalists and sovereignists. For example: I am against the Green Deal and yet at the beginning the EPP and the president of the Commission, who is a member of the People’s Party, were great supporters of it. The right is also questioning some rights of women and LGBT communities, even at the expense of children. But Ursula von Der Leyen was very committed to fighting discrimination. So if you’re honest with yourself you can’t worry about an alliance with people who have these kinds of political ideas.”

The President of the Commission herself last week distinguished between the right and the far right.

«He says he is afraid of the far right. He fights it instead of compromising himself with them.”

Von der Leyen has come to the farmers’ defense in recent days.

«The incredible thing is that for twenty years the presidency of the Commission has been in the hands of the EPP. The Agriculture Commissioner is right-wing and now they say they want to defend the farmers from us. Ridiculous.”

Let’s give some examples. The radical right of the Frenchman Zemmour has joined the ECR Conservative group led by Giorgia Meloni. Hungarian Orban has announced that he will join in June. Is the Italian Prime Minister a moderate or an exponent of the far right?

«Sometimes wolves dress up as sheep. When I listened to some statements before the last Italian elections and immediately after, I thought it was changing. But if you ally yourself with Orban, who is the promoter of the so-called illiberal democracy, and wants Putin’s laws, well, everything changes. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.”

Von der Leyen wants an agreement with Meloni.

«That’s what you’ll have to clarify. How can you not see the contradiction?”.

Would you say that Giorgia Meloni is a fascist? Is he or she a friend of the fascists?

«It’s not easy to say if she’s a fascist. You certainly come from a party that was fascist in the past and you have never denied it. You never said you had broken with the past. This is her political story. You never spoke explicitly about the horrible things that fascism did in Italy and we cannot forget that Mussolini was Hitler’s ally. When, a few weeks ago, hundreds of people gathered in Rome, in Acca Larentia, with their arms outstretched, I don’t think you disapproved.”

And what do you think of Salvini? Is he part of the far right or not?

«Are you referring to Putin’s friend? If it’s him, my answer is clear.”

About Putin. Should the PES support Ukraine to the end, until victory over Russia?

«Yes, I am absolutely convinced that we have no other choice because if Putin wins this war and takes Ukraine, he will not stop. If Moscow wins, all of Europe is in danger.”

Why have the Socialists lost their primacy in Europe to the People’s Party for over twenty years?

«In the meantime, let’s see what happens in June. I took to the field to win. Many polls turn out to be wrong. Then, of course, we had some difficulties especially after the financial crisis and now we can overcome them.”

Also in Italy? Is Schlein’s PD really the alternative to this right in Italy?

«Elly is bringing freshness and values ​​to Italian politics. It’s what we need. Of positive values ​​in our society.”

Will you run for Parliament?


Isn’t this contradictory to the spirit of the spitzenkandidat system?

«I come from a small town and we only have six seats in parliament. Our party already has an excellent leader and many young candidates. I’m running for the Commission. Von der Leyen is also not running for parliament. I would have liked transnational lists, those would have underlined the European dimension.”

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