A boot that Europeans have been worrying about for a long time has fallen on Italy's ground, and the real challenge may just have begun. Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni claimed victory in the general election held on Sunday that has a high probability to install her as Italy's first female prime minister. What has attracted more public attention is Meloni's far-right tendency. Some European and US media outlets even dubbed her the "female Mussolini," a label enough to make some Europeans chilling. But labels are one-sided and can't explain complex political realities. We should, and in fact can only, respect the choice made by the Italians today, and on this premise, manage relations with the new Italian government.
Many people have compared this election with the Brexit vote, both of which have had a huge impact on European integration. As the Washington Post said, "Another taboo in Europe is about to be broken." For the European establishment elites, the more serious question is: will this be the first domino in the collapse of traditional European politics? But after all, this is an internal affair in Italy and Europe. No matter how strong a shock it would cause in the Western world, the shock will continue to weaken with the distance from the epicenter increasing. The outsiders don't have to have a strong empathy.
Meloni, 45, deliberately downplayed her far-right tendency using a relatively conciliatory tone in her victory speech. She also vowed to "govern for everyone." This is a common practice for winners in Western election politics and their policy choices after taking office are often inconsistent with campaign slogans. However, radical positions such as "EU skepticism" and "anti-immigrant" are Meloni's political backgrounds and one of the key reasons for her victory. It is difficult for her to make fundamental adjustments in these regards. For the whole of Europe, when a political figure like Meloni assumes power in Italy, there must be a process of running-in with traditional politics, which to a large extent means there will be pains that discomfort both sides. This is also an unavoidable test of European politics.
In fact, the entire Western world is facing the challenge of "turning right." Before the Italian election, Sweden's rightist camp also won the majority of votes in the general election. In addition, in countries including France, Germany, Finland, Denmark and Austria, the approval ratings of far-right parties are growing rapidly. Europe's conservative right "feels like it's enjoying a revival," CNN noted on Sunday. At the same time, in the US, far-right forces are also rapidly pressing from the edge zone of the political spectrum to the mainstream position.
For non-Western countries, including China, there is a running-in problem for each other. But they can deal with it in a pragmatic, rational attitude, and cope with it as it stands. During campaign, Meloni made negative remarks over the Taiwan question and the Belt and Road Initiative, which are deliberately amplified by Western public opinion. This is part of a series of her radical campaign language. We have noted her statements, and we will continue to follow how she will act. On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that it is hoped "the new Italian government will continue to follow a positive and practical China policy." This is a constructive attitude. Of course, if someone really provokes China, it is impossible for China to just sit idly by and do nothing.
A very bad political atmosphere has emerged in Western countries, that is, China is passively involved in everything, and China is to be blamed for every problem. They not only make China the scapegoat frequently, but also attempt to pass the crisis on to China. But we believe more in the power of common interests, which will ultimately guide all parties to seek cooperation and peaceful coexistence beyond ideological and systematic differences. China-Italy relations should not deviate from this track. In fact, as Western politicians increasingly emphasize the so-called defense of the liberal order and even demand the common people to pay the price for it, more and more ordinary people are showing resistance.
According to data, China's actual use of foreign capital reached $138.4 billion between January and August this year, growing 20.2 percent, of which investment from the EU grew 123.7 percent. In July alone, the EU imported some 1.29 million Chinese electric blankets, a nearly 150 percent growth from a month prior. It's not difficult to feel the coming cold winter in Europe from this figure. Facing the crisis, it is trade with China that helped ease the real difficulties of livelihood in Europe. It is a concrete embodiment of mutual benefit. Whether it is China and EU or China and Italy, healthy and steady development of the bilateral ties is in line with the interests of the two sides, and also benefit the world.
History has repeatedly proved that creating new crisis cannot solve current difficulties, but it will instead bury bigger hidden dangers for the future. For Europe which is standing at crossroads, it faces a series of development and security issues, such as refugee influx, energy crisis, economic recession, that wait for urgent solution as its politics turns right. It needs strategic autonomy, the courage to see truth from facts and choices that accord to the trend to solve those issues. Italy is no exception to this.