Meloni offers support for EU and vows to bring ‘strong voice of Italy’

Meloni offers support for EU and vows to bring ‘strong voice of Italy’ |

In her first trip to Brussels, new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that she would bring “the strong voice of Italy to the EU” but gave her support for the bloc’s actions on the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and inflation.

The trip to meet EU leaders was Meloni’s first outside Italy since becoming Prime Minister last week. “I want to give a signal about our will to collaborate with the EU and to defend our national interest” Meloni told journalists on Thursday (3 November). 

She welcomed the steps taken on energy policy during the October European Council and on migration, she pointed out how the current EU position is in line with her government’s agenda that is “the defending of our borders”.

After lunch with EU Economics Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, Meloni met European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.

On the question of Italy’s recovery plan, which Meloni promised to renegotiate during the recent election campaign, the Prime Minister told journalists that she is discussing with the EU how to implement the plan in the light of rising inflation.

There was no mention of the possible renegotiation of the plan.

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However, despite reassuring EU leaders of Italy’s support on the main issues facing the bloc, the discussions were understood to have been in very general terms, beyond condemnation of Russian invasion in Ukraine, and the need for a more united EU.

Parliament President Roberta Metsola’s spokesperson told EURACTIV that the two leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine, high energy prices and inflation.

Metsola also “mentioned the importance of adopting the RePowererEU and fit for 55 packages as soon as possible”, the spokesperson said.

“We are totally aligned on Ukraine. We will continue to stand firm on sanctions. And we are united in reaffirming our support for Ukraine”, said Metsola in a statement.

The spokesperson also said that the need for EU unity was also supported by Meloni and that Metsola has invited Meloni to address the European Parliament plenary.

Her predecessor Mario Draghi addressed EU lawmakers in Strasbourg in May. The EU assembly has a policy of inviting different EU head of states and government to speak at plenary sessions to debate EU policy and their country’s priorities.

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“In summary, the meeting confirmed Italy will continue its central role in EU decision making”, Metsola spokesperson said.

A more ‘Atlanticist’ government

The early indications are that Meloni’s government, which includes the right-wing Lega party and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, will not be as eurosceptic as her party has historically been.

In particular, the decision to appoint former EU Commissioner and EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani as Foreign Affairs Minister from Forza Italia, suggests a will to cooperate with other member states, at least on the current big issues, such as the war in Ukraine and its consequences.

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[Edited by Benjamin Fox]


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