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EU tensions boil over as Italy lashes out at backdoor deals over top jobs



EU tensions boil over as Italy lashes out at backdoor deals over top jobs

Tensions in the European Union risk exploding as the leader of the third-largest economy in the bloc slammed backdoor deals on EU top jobs.

Far-right leader and Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni claimed the opinions of European voters were not being taken into account on the delicate issue of appointing the next leaders in Brussels.

Addressing the Italian Parliament on the eve of a European summit, Ms Meloni didn’t hide her anger on Wednesday, as she said: “There are those who argue that citizens are not wise enough to take certain decisions and that oligarchy is the only acceptable form of democracy, but I disagree.”

One day before Ms Meloni’s pointed address, it was reported that the six EU leaders negotiating the bloc’s top jobs had agreed on Ursula von der Leyen retaining her role as European Commission President, while they named Portugal’s António Costa and Estonia’s Kaja Kallas as the next leaders of the European Council and foreign policy service respectively.

The negotiators came from the centre-right EPP group, the Socialist group and liberal parties including Emmanuel Macron‘s – despite Renew’s poor performance at the elections.

Ms Meloni hit out at the lack of representation of her more right-leaning ECR group, which made considerable gains at the last European elections.

In her address, she accused EU leaders of being tempted to “sweep the dust under the carpet” rather than acknowledge the shift.

The Italian Prime Minister added it was “surreal” that the three names for the top EU positions, which had already been mentioned ahead of the elections, were presented “without even pretending to discuss the signals from voters”.

Following the vote held earlier this month across the EU, the ECR holds the third-biggest share of seats in the European Parliament.

Ms Meloni is reportedly eyeing up major roles in the EU for both Italian personalities and leading members of the ECR.

The centrist President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, also touched upon the issue of major appointments in the EU, as – while stressing it is not up to him to delve into the political dynamics of the bloc – he said: “You can’t overlook Italy.”

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