How Italy’s Five Star Movement wants to change EU politics

Italy's Five Star Movement (M5S) wants to team up with like-minded populist parties and form a new grouping within the European Parliament to take power from the traditional left and right, its leader said Sunday.

How Italy's Five Star Movement wants to change EU politics
Five Star leader and Italian deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio speaking during the European election campaign in Waraw, Poland. Photo: Janek SKARZYNSKI/AFP

“I don't think that the traditional parties have the potential to attain an absolute majority in the European Parliament,” M5S chief Luigi di Maio said.

Speaking at an event in Warsaw with Poland's populist Kukiz'15 movement and Croatia's Zivi Zid (Human Shield) party, Di Maio said the traditional differentiation between politics of the “left” and “right” was “outdated”.

READ ALSO: Luigi Di Maio, the face of Italian populism

“I prefer to distinguish between good and bad ideas,” said Di Maio, who is also Italy's deputy prime minister.

He said his party was open to collaboration with any political movement “that comes up with good proposals.” 


Di Maio's Polish host, the punk-rocker-turned-politician Pawel Kukiz, said his party's slogan for the EU elections would be “Poland in Europe, Europe for Poland” and that the focus of his campaign would be the fight against the “ossified elites”.

“We cannot accept that Europe is in the hands of the European Commission, which in reality serves the interests of two states, a sort of marriage between (French President Emmanuel) Macron and (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel,” he said.

Analysts have said that Italy's populist government — comprised of Di Maio's M5S and the far-right League — is on its last legs, with the two parties split over various issues since taking power last June.


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Protesters gather in Milan as Italy limits same-sex parents’ rights

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Milan on Saturday in protest against a new government directive stopping local authorities from registering the births of same-sex couples' children.

Protesters gather in Milan as Italy limits same-sex parents' rights

“You explain to my son that I’m not his mother,” read one sign held up amid a sea of rainbow flags that filled the northern city’s central Scala Square.

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016, but opposition from the Catholic Church meant it stopped short of granting gay couples the right to adopt.

Decisions have instead been made on a case-by-case basis by the courts as parents take legal action, although some local authorities decided to act unilaterally.

Milan’s city hall had been recognising children of same-sex couples conceived overseas through surrogacy, which is illegal in Italy, or medically assisted reproduction, which is only available for heterosexual couples.

But its centre-left mayor Beppe Sala revealed earlier this week that this had stopped after the interior ministry sent a letter insisting that the courts must decide.

READ ALSO: Milan stops recognising children born to same-sex couples

“It is an obvious step backwards from a political and social point of view, and I put myself in the shoes of those parents who thought they could count on this possibility in Milan,” he said in a podcast, vowing to fight the change.

Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala

Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala has assured residents that he will fight to have the new government directive overturned. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Fabrizio Marrazzo of the Gay Party said about 20 children are waiting to be registered in Milan, condemning the change as “unjust and discriminatory”.

A mother or father who is not legally recognised as their child’s parent can face huge bureaucratic problems, with the risk of losing the child if the registered parent dies or the couple’s relationship breaks down.

Elly Schlein, newly elected leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, was among opposition politicians who attended the protest on Saturday, where many campaigners railed against the new government.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party came top in the September elections, puts a strong emphasis on traditional family values.

“Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby!” she said in a speech last year before her election at the head of a right-wing coalition that includes Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League.

Earlier this week, a Senate committee voted against an EU plan to oblige member states to recognise the rights of same-sex parents granted elsewhere in the bloc.