The Russia-Ukraine war has been raging on for more than a year now, and it seems like the divide between Western leaders and Russia is only getting wider. EU nations have been steadfast in their support of Ukraine, imposing crippling sanctions on Russia in an attempt to stop the war machine.
However, the sanctions have not had the desired effect, and Western nations have been forced to look for other ways to challenge Russia.
One of the most surprising sanctions was the EU’s decision to move away from Russian energy dependence. Countries like Germany announced that they would no longer use Russian energy, but this decision had disastrous consequences for their economies. Italy was no exception and suffered extensively due to the Russian energy crisis spurred by the EU’s own mistakes.
However, Italy’s conservative PM, Giorgia Meloni, has come up with a plan to restart energy deals with Russia and is smartly challenging the European Union.
“Moving away from Russia is difficult,” says Italy
Claudio Descalzi, the chief executive of Italy’s Eni, has announced that paving the way for Russian energy is a pretty hard nut to crack. For this, Descalzi has given the rationale that, Italy hasn’t emphasized investment in domestic production for nearly eight years, and the partial progress in replacing Russian supplies has been attributable to Italy’s historic ties with nations like Egypt, Angola, Algeria, Congo, Mozambique, and Libya, where Eni produces 70% of the gas for the domestic market.
Despite this, Italy relies on imports for nearly 75% of its energy, and so Meloni is in no mood to leave Russia behind. In fact, Meloni has decided to re-appoint pro-Russia lobbyist Paolo Scaroni.
Read More: “No Nuclear Escalation” Italy shuts US up
The Pro-Russia Lobbyist returns
Italy energy giant ENEL will vote on appointing Scaroni, a veteran ally of pro-Putin former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, as chairman of the company. Between 2002 and 2014, as CEO of ENEL, and later of Italy other energy giant, ENI, Scaroni signed huge deals with Russia’s Gazprom, making Italy as dependent on Russian gas as their northern neighbor, Germany.
Scaroni has publicly opposed sanctions on Russia and has argued that Italy needs Russian gas and energy for at least another decade. Many supporters of Ukraine fear that Scaroni’s appointment is likely to undermine US and European efforts to reduce demand, cap prices on Russian energy exports, and curb Russian influence over the continent.
Read More: So it’s only a matter of time before Italy leaves the EU
Italy’s decision to appoint a pro-Russia lobbyist to a key energy company could have far-reaching consequences for the EU’s strategy towards Russia. While the rest of the continent continues to distance itself from Russia.
Meloni has been keeping a secret for months: she has deep-rooted pro-Russia sentiments! While she publicly supports Ukraine its war efforts, Meloni has been secretly swooning over Russia. But now, she’s coming out of the closet and embracing Russia more openly than ever before.
This change of direction is sure to leave the EU scratching its head and wondering how to deal with the newfound romance, especially when Meloni is also detested by Brussels’ liberal authority.
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