Mind the South. Rome supported Madrid’s proposal for a EU-Neighborhood Summit of the South during the Spanish EU presidency in the second half of 2023.
- As Agenzia Nova reported, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni highlighted the importance of adopting an EU-wide strategic vision toward the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
- The remarks came during discussions on the Southern Neighborhood at Thursday’s European Council meeting.
Opportunities… PM Meloni highlighted Italy’s recognition of the area’s potential as an opportunity for the EU, as it shares the same challenges, including migration and the issue of rising energy prices.
- EU-North Africa energy cooperation is already reality, and it’s set to expand as the green transition progresses. As the Italian PM remarked during the Rome Med Dialogues, the areas must work on mutually-advantageous partnerships (investments in exchange for clean energy) – and Italy is uniquely positioned to act as an “energy bridge.”
… and challenges. Ms Meloni stressed that migration management requires a structural solution in Europe so as to avoid a “predatory approach” to the issue. Her calls to create a joint response also came as an answer to Austria’s Karl Neerhammer calling to curb secondary migration flows.
- “Migration is a central issue for Italy, a complex issue on which member States sometimes have different visions, but on which it is important to give a political signal and a clear commitment from the EU,” she said, calling for an ad-hoc summit if need be.
- Her government’s harder line on migration – and a spat with France – brought the issue back up in the EU’s agenda. However, European efforts resulted in a proposed action plan that’s a far cry from Rome’s desires.