Stock-taking time. On Tuesday, Il Corriere della Sera published the first interview of Giorgia Meloni in her capacity as Prime Minister. Onlookers have gotten a sense of her government’s line two months since the elections and one month since she assumed the role. She stands by it: here’s what she said.
On Russia and Ukraine. “[President] Putin is not showing much willingness to negotiate. It is worth continuing to support Ukraine because the possibility of opening a [negotiating] table can only stem from a balance of forces.”
- PM Meloni’s government looks set to renew Rome’s commitment to providing Kyiv with military aid, extending it throughout 2023.
On China. “I spoke with [President] Xi about the importance China can have in keeping a diplomatic channel with Moscow alive. We also told each other, transparently, that Italy and China are two very distant States but that they have millennia of history behind them that can allow a dialogue, despite the profound differences.”
- When the two spoke at the G20 summit in Indonesia, the Chinese President admitted to the Italian PM that his ability to influence President Putin is “much more limited than people think.”
On the EU. “Relations with Europe are good. I had the first meeting in Brussels precisely because I wanted to signal Italy’s readiness to collaborate – while defending its national interest, as I think everyone legitimately does.”
- Rome has been making headlines for its harder turn on migration, which caused it to clash with Paris over refugee relocation. “I have never had problems with France, nor do I have them today,” added Ms Meloni, noting she recently exchanged messages with President Macron and that bilateral relations continue normally.
On migration. “The Italian position has brought a concrete result: for the first time, the central Mediterranean route is considered a priority in an EU Commission document; it had never happened, and it would not have happened if we had not raised the issue. Italy cannot be abandoned; it is not written in any treaty that it must be the only possible landing point in Europe.”
- On Friday, EU interior ministers welcomed the Commission’s 20-point action plan to address surging migration in the Med. However, no there was no agreement on a legally-binding framework, or reform, of the bloc’s approach to migration and refugee distribution.