This article was originally published by CEPA.
In Italy’s 4 March parliamentary elections, voters—angered by high unemployment, stagnant wages, uncontrolled immigration, and a self-serving political class—gave half their ballots to two populist parties, the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Northern League. Both are hostile to the European Union and sympathetic to Moscow’s geopolitical claims in Europe.
Mathematically, no new government can be formed without them. The results are likely to help undermine EU unity in general, weaken the consensus behind EU sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and strengthen the Kremlin’s energy agenda, which includes using Gazprom energy shipments to Europe as a political weapon.
Although evidence points to Russian meddling in the campaign, Moscow’s influence on Italian politics dates back decades.