Giorgia Meloni: A Surprising Advocate for Europe

Overwhelmed by the migration crisis in Italy, the President of the Italian Council turns to the European Union for help. If the head of government can have extreme right positions internally, her foreign policy is more pragmatic

At a time when the European extreme right is gaining strength, the President of the Italian Council has had to face the facts: the populist measures she announced at the time of her victory a year ago are inapplicable. Faced with migrants fleeing violence, poverty and the consequences of climate change, no naval blockade constitutes the beginning of a solution. Italy is actually welcoming more migrants this year than before the leader of the Fratelli d’Italia took power.

Giorgia Meloni nonetheless remains a difficult political animal to pin down. Domestically, she can take positions on immigration that delight her far-right electorate. But his foreign policy is much more pragmatic. Cornered by a migratory wave that is overwhelming her, she has understood the benefit of playing the European solidarity card.

Giorgia Meloni is clearly not on the same wavelength as her deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. She does not reject the European Union and provides solid aid to Ukraine, unlike the extreme right who prefer to support Moscow. At the head of an Italy suffering from a slump in growth and under the yoke of an astronomical debt, she sees aid from Brussels as a way out of the crisis.

The implementation of the European recovery plan thanks to which Italy should receive nearly 200 billion euros is difficult. But the dialogue between Rome and Brussels seems to be working, even if Giorgia Meloni does not inspire the same confidence as her predecessor, Mario Draghi. With this windfall – the largest received by an EU member state – the Peninsula must modernize. Here too pragmatic, Giorgia Meloni hammers home: she does not want to deprive herself of the “lesser” euro from Brussels.

Now the EU must rise to the occasion. Will the new European Pact on Migration and Asylum be able to fill the serious shortcomings of a Dublin regime which has so far failed to convince the Twenty-Seven to show solidarity? Will it finally relieve the countries on the migratory front and avoid a breakup of the European Union? One thing is certain: the EU should not be satisfied with one-off agreements with Turkey and Tunisia. A more global, upstream approach aimed at helping countries emerge from underdevelopment would offer a more sustainable solution.

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