The Meloni-Rutte meeting. On Wednesday, the Italian Prime Minister welcomed her Dutch counterpart in Rome – significantly, the first time a European leader visited her in an official capacity since she became PM. The two held bilateral talks, which centred on migration and reforming European fiscal rules.
- Talks were “fruitful and cordial,” said PM Meloni, noting she and PM Rutte share a “concrete and pragmatic approach to the main dossiers in Brussels. Even if the two countries’ positions regarding mutual national interests are not always the same, I have to say that I found myself in front of a lucid, pragmatic, concrete person who is willing to find solutions. This is the same approach that Italy is taking.”
Engage strategically. As per her government’s foreign policy, PM Meloni is focussing on boosting new international relations and investing in areas of mutual interest – even with countries and governments that are usually unfriendly or that hold grudges towards Italy.
- She implemented that approach in her recent trips to New Delhi and Abu Dhabi, and now she looks set to extend it to European partners.
- She had also already spoken face-to-face with Mr Rutte at the last European summit in early February, and Wednesday’s visit happened in the run-up to the March EU-wide meeting, which will once again focus on migration policies.
Migration talks. The dossier is especially sensitive due to the recent tragedy in Southern Italy – where over 60 migrants lost their lives in a shipwreck. Since she became PM, Ms Meloni’s government has been bringing attention to the issue at the EU level.
- After PM Meloni penned a letter to the European institutions requesting more support from member States to deal with migratory flows, Commission President promised to offer “effective and lasting” solutions in the new Pact for Migration and Asylum. However, no agreement is in sight yet.
Migrant relocation – especially secondary movements from countries of landing, such as Italy, to other EU States – is a touchy issue in Italian-Dutch dialogues. Nevertheless, the leaders engaged fruitfully, with PM Rutte generally seeing eye-to-eye with PM Meloni on widening the EU’s approach and NGOs.
- It is necessary to “demolish the inhuman and cynical business model” of human traffickers, but also “be more present” in African countries and harmonise “secondary and primary migration,” said the Dutch PM, calling for an “efficient European approach” and announcing the possibility of a trip, together with Ms Meloni, to Africa.
Reforming the Stability Pact. That’s another sensitive area, which usually finds the frugal Netherlands in the opposite field to Italy, historically prone to public spending. Differing views remain between Amsterdam and Rome, and discussions on reforming the EU’s fiscal rules are coming up – especially in light of Europe’s need to finance its strategic cleantech industries.