The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen - German doctor and politician (born Albrecht). Ursula Gertrude Albrecht warned Italy of consequences if it deviates from democratic principles, world agencies reported, BTA reports.

It was seen as an unveiled threat to far-right parties in the right-wing electoral bloc expected to win Italy's election on Sunday.

Speaking at Princeton University, Von Der Leyen said that if any democratic government expressed a desire to work with the EC, the two sides would work together.

"But if things go in a difficult direction, we have means of action," she threatened and recalled the cases with Poland and Hungary.

The right wing in Italy read Von der Leyen's words as a threat and promised her MPs in the EP to submit a vote of no confidence against her.

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"What is this, is it a threat?" Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League party, said on Twitter.

"Respect for the free, democratic and sovereign vote of the Italian people," he added.

"It was a base threat. An unwanted intrusion. This lady represents all Europeans, her salary is paid by all of us, and it was a disgusting and arrogant threat," he added.

Salvini said that the deputies from his party in the European Parliament will submit a request for a vote of no confidence in Von der Leyen, BTA adds.

"On Sunday the Italians vote, not the bureaucrats from Brussels, if I were the president of the European Commission I would be more concerned about the energy bills," Salvini said.

Speaking about Italy and mentioning Hungary and Poland, Von Der Leyen was apparently referring to the EC commission's recommendation to suspend Hungary's payment of 7.5 billion euros from European funds to recover the economy after the pandemic.

The EC recommended this because of Hungary's insufficient efforts in the fight against corruption.

The EC introduced similar financial sanctions two years ago in response to what it said amounted to undermining democracy in Poland and Hungary.

An EC spokesman tried to clarify what von der Leyen meant about Italy.

Eric Mamer said that the president of the European Commission did not want to interfere in Italian politics.

"She emphasized the role of the EC as a guarantor of the European Treaties regarding the rule of law," explained the spokesperson.

The prospect of an Italian government led by far-right candidate Giorgia Meloni worries Brussels, particularly over the sensitive issue of sanctions against Moscow, but diplomats and experts do not see how Rome would risk refusing huge aid promised by the EU.

"It is not the first time that we risk a clash with governments with the participation of far-right or far-left parties," recalled European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.

"Let the voters themselves choose between the candidates. We will react to the actions of the new government and we have the tools to do so," he says.

Ursula von der Leyen


confidence vote