Italy’s League seeks to remove EU flag from public offices

By Thomson Reuters May 16, 2024 | 5:23 AM

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s hard-right League on Thursday said it wanted to change the law and remove the European Union flag from public offices, looking to bolster its eurosceptic credentials ahead of EU parliamentary elections next month.

League leader Matteo Salvini, whose electoral fortunes have waned in recent years, has dusted off a radical platform to lure eurosceptic electors and boost support for his party which is part of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s coalition.

Senator Claudio Borghi — a staunch eurosceptic and a candidate at the European elections — said only the Italian national flag should be displayed in front of the offices, along with banners representing the regions.

Borghi said he would introduce a bill to overturn a 1998 law that requires the EU flag to fly at Italy’s public offices, calling it nonsense.

The League is part of the radical right Identity and Democracy (ID) group at the EU parliament, which includes France’s Rassemblement National (RN), Austria’s Freedom Party (FPO) and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

ID is currently the sixth largest group in the EU assembly but latest polls place it in fourth position, slightly behind the liberals, with the RN expected to make particularly strong gains in France.

The League — which got 34% of vote at the last EU election in 2019 — is now polling at only around 9%, with Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party the most popular group in Italy with 27% — replacing it as the leading force on the Italian right.

As part of a drive to rekindle the party’s fortunes, Salvini has put forward as a candidate Roberto Vannacci, an army general who sparked outrage last year by publishing a book disparaging the LGBTQ community, migrants, minorities and feminists.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer)