The European Union and its future

“Two lame ducks, Macron and Scholz, and a former sovereignist ugly duckling turned into a swan, Giorgia Meloni. This is what is left of Europe after the electoral earthquake.” These words, written by the columnist Antonio Polito in the Corriere della Sera of 11 June, express the essence of the electoral result of the European elections. The Franco-German engine of the European Union is “broken down” and Giorgia Meloni has established herself as the only European prime minister to have increased and stabilised popular support after two years in government.

It should be added that the great defeat of these elections has been handed to the historic left. The party that has received the largest number of votes on the European scale is the moderate People’s Party, while everywhere the socialists and Greens are losing. The German SPD, the oldest socialist party in Europe, founded in 1863, has been overtaken by the “sovereignist” party, Alternative für Deutschland  (Alternative for Germany), founded in 2013. In every country, from France to Austria, from Germany to Spain, the “sovereignist” or, more generally, “centre-right” parties, in their various forms, are advancing. The myth of an immigrationist, globalitarian and inclusive Europe has been dealt a hard blow, confirming the existence of an unstoppable process of de-globalisation which, after the attack on the Twin Towers, had its expressions in the financial crisis of 2008, in the trade war between the United States and China that developed under the Trump presidency and in the coronavirus pandemic. The spectre of the “global coup d’état”, dear to certain neo-conspiracy theorists, is receding, while the real evil from which Europe suffers is clearly looming: political instability and intellectual and moral confusion.

In fact, who will govern the European Parliament that will open on 16 July in Strasbourg, with the proclamation of the deputies who will constitute the new political groups? In terms of numbers, there is still a majority between the People’s Party, the Socialist Party and the liberal Renew group, but the numbers are now too small to ensure the stability of this alignment. Having lost the elections, the socialists and liberals will no longer be able to influence the decisions of the EPP, which cannot help but move to the right, for example, by considering the possibility of support from Giorgia Meloni and the prime minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Fiala. The sovereignist parties, however, are divided between the Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR), of which Giorgia Meloni is a member, and that of Identity and Democracy (ID), to which Marine Le Pen belongs. The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, will in turn have to choose which group to join. But even their votes combined with those of the EPP do not add up to the required majority.

In this respect, the new European Parliament is more fragile than the previous one, and it will not be easy to find a common voice, above all in the most important sector today, that of foreign policy. The right-wing parties, which have emerged victorious from the competition, share the ideas of curbing untamed immigration, opposing environmentalist ideology and reducing Europe’s coercive power, especially in the economic field, but they are divided over the fundamental problem facing Europe today: the existence of two wars, in Ukraine and the Middle East, which threaten the freedom of the West. On this point, there is now a dividing line that runs through the left and the right and is fuelled by the Russian and Chinese “hybrid war”.

In the 1980s, Soviet propaganda invented the slogan, “Better red than dead”, to push the European left and the pacifist movements to oppose the installation of American Pershing II missiles, which would have had to face off the SS-20 missiles deployed by the Russians to strike Western Europe. The psychological blackmail was that of circulating in public opinion the false alternative between “Soviet peace” and nuclear war.

Today, the Soviet Union has collapsed, but Vladimir Putin, its heir, has objectives that, at that time, would have seemed unattainable: the dismantling of NATO, the isolation of Europe from the United States, the neutralisation of the countries that were formerly part of the Iron Curtain; in a word, the submission of Europe to the Russian hegemonic project. To achieve this goal, the weapon remains above all psychological. The new slogan, “Peace, not nuclear catastrophe”, was endorsed in a television talk show on 10 June by General Roberto Vannacci, elected with over 500,000 votes as an independent to the ranks of the right-wing party, the League, and by the professor and commentator Angelo d’Orsi, who has openly declared his nostalgia for communism. Anyone who wants to resist the expansionist aims of Putin or the Islamic world is accused of being an “enemy of peace” who wants to lead Europe to nuclear apocalypse.

The basic problem, however, remains that of understanding what kind of peace it is that we are seeking and what is the true and profound cause of the dangers that threaten us. The leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, has called French president Emmanuel Macron a “criminal” for his statements in favour of sending French or NATO soldiers to Ukraine. The label used for the French prime minister is not wrong, but for reasons very different from those put forward by Salvini. Macron can technically be considered a criminal because he is the president of a country that has put the crime of abortion into its constitution, even presenting it as a “universal message”.

The ostentatious public overturning of the natural and Christian order cannot remain without consequences. Only respect for this moral order ensures peace, while its violation inevitably leads to wars and all kinds of social upheavals.

Reminding us of these truths is above all the responsibility of the Church. Pope Francis will participate in the G7, which will take place from 13 to 15 June in Puglia, under the leadership of Italy. This will be the first time a pontiff has taken part in the summit, which also includes the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. What better occasion to remind the powerful of the earth that there is a natural and divine law that cannot be transgressed with impunity, and that only the return to this law represents the path to finding the only true tranquillity in order, which is the peace of Christ? Barring this, the path of self-destruction for the West, which also passes through surrender to Putin’s blackmail, will inexorably follow its course.