Di Maio in Brussels: In search of European allies

Populism, far-right, liberalism. There is a bit of everything in the recipe of the Five Star Movement (M5S) for Europe. M5S’ leader, Luigi Di Maio, started to unveil his plans for the next alliances in Europe in a visit to Brussels on 9 January. He had meetings with the leaders of different political forces: Kukiz 15 (Poland), Zivi zid (Croatia), Liike Nyt (Finland). The first ones are considered far right people, the second ones populists and anti-system. The Finns “are liberals”, Di Maio said after the visit, talking to the Italian press.

The meeting between Di Maio and the other people – Kukiz15’s Pawel Kukiz, Zivi zid’s Ivan Vilibor Sincic and Liike Nyt’s Karolina Kahonen – was held in Brussels for symbolic reasons. The purpose was to show the readiness to work together in the capital of Europe starting from 27 May, immediately after the European elections. But to make this possible, preliminary work is of course needed.

Kukiz’15 is a movement created in 2011 and led by Paweł Kukiz, punk rock musician then turned into politician. Our blog partner 2019euelectionsPoland describes the Kukiz party in this article. Direct democracy in the sense of overcoming the traditional party system is one of the main declared goals of the Polish force. There is no doubt that direct democracy is something really precious to M5S, and this can explain Di Maio’s interest for them.

Trying to have a look at Kukiz 15’ “frontman”, it is worth looking into his art. In 2012 Kukiz released an album whose title is “Force and honour”. Here are the lyrics: “Poland/ House/ Woman/ Children/ Defend/ pull weeds”. And further: “we do not ask how many enemies there are – but where are they?” Isn’t it a typical example of nationalism, extremism, hate, and far right ideals? How good is this for M5S, who don’t like to be considered populists or extremists?

Zivi zid (Human Shield, in English) is a Croatian movement established in 2015 which refuses to be characterized as being left or right. A Croat journalist described them as “anti-system”. In Italy Benito Mussolini described the Fascist party in the same way, and this is something not to be ignored.

Among the political goals of Zivi Zid are the withdrawal of Croatia from NATO and becoming closer to Russia. How much is this in line with M5S?

The Five-Stars Movement have made no mystery of their will to reform the North Atlantic organization, without leaving it. Di Maio has himself expressed the intention of Italy remaining a NATO member but, at the same time, to keep talking to Moscow.

Another point in common on the agenda is the refusal of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Both Zivi Zid and M5S are against such a project. But TTIP is not on the agenda anyway, since Donald Trump took charge.

Then comes Liike Nyt (Finnish for “Movement Now”), the other force the Five Stars are looking at as possible partner. This is a super-new creation, having being founded on April of last year. Promoting democracy through the internet and the social media is one of the main point in the agenda of the Scandinavian party, founded and led by Harry Harkimo, businessman and youtuber. E-democracy is since the beginning one of the main pillar of the real change M5S would like to bring to Italy and to Europe.

Looking at what Di Maio and his people are up to, there is no doubt that their intention is to build up a movement of movements. In their view, new forces made by “normal” citizens should not be involved in the traditional way of doing politics. Di Maio’s meetings in Brussels shoud therefore be seen as an attempt to bring together all the anti-system forces.

Of course efforts should continue further, since setting up a political group in the European Parliament requires at least 25 people from minimum seven different member states. Thus new allies are needed, so new meetings will follow.

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