Ursula von der Leyen is politically a "lame horse", a senior member of Italian European People's Party member, Forza Italia, has claimed. (Photo by Simona Granati - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)


Von der Leyen a ‘lame horse’ says Italian senator


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is politically a “lame horse”, according to a senior politician within the Italian party Forza Italia.

Licia Ronzulli, a senator with the party founded by Silvio Berlusconi, reportedly told a rally in Stradella in the Italian province of Pavia on May 12 that the EC chief’s time was coming to an end and that change was due.

“I say this as a proud member of the EPP [European People’s Party], Ursula Von der Leyen is now a lame horse,” she told the rally, adding that Forza Italia was now hunting for a new candidate to become Commissioner.

“It is crucial for the sake of the European elections to officially declare the chapter of the Ursula majority closed,” Ronzulli said.

“We are firmly aiming for a result that gives us a centre-right majority, including populists, Liberals and Conservatives. And, perhaps, a president of the Commission who is more attentive to the Mediterranean area,” she concluded.

Ronzulli’s comments appeared to be more than just talk. Despite von der Leyen travelling to Italy over the weekend of May 12, Forza Italia has refused to offer her a formal invitation to the party’s campaign launch for the European Parliament elections in June.

The current EC President received a warmer response from Italy’s foreign minister Antonio Tajani, who met her on May 13. The Forza Italia politician is said to be one of von der Leyen’s few remaining allies.

Such hospitality was not extended by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, with von der Leyen not scheduled to meet the Fratelli D’Italia leader at any point during her visit to the country.

Some analysts claim the EC chief is becoming evermore keen to earn Meloni’s support as backing for her wanes in the centre and Left.

It does not appear such support will be forthcoming, with Meloni instead thought to be plotting with French President Emmanuel Macron to have her replaced by former Italian prime minister Mario Draghi.

Forza Italia is a member of European People’s Party.