Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met with British counterpart Rishi Sunak on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. The meeting took place a few weeks after she visited London at the end of April, where the two signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation. “The intensity of the ongoing dialogue between Meloni and Sunak testifies to the strong revival of relations between Italy and the UK,” Italian sources explained.
From Euro-Atlantic to Indo-Pacific. The two discussed the main issues on the international agenda, starting with full alignment, including in the NATO and G7 sphere, and their common commitment to countering Russian aggression against Ukraine. They then “emphasised the growing interdependence between the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific macro-areas,” Italian sources reported.
- As Japanese Prime Minister and this year’s G7 host Fumio Kishida often repeats, Taiwan could become the next Ukraine. The interdependence between the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific areas is at the heart of Japan’s G7 presidency. It will most likely be part of the legacy that Tokyo will leave to Rome ahead of next year’s Italian presidency.
- In addition, it is a key element of the joint Global Combat Air Programme – pursued in conjunction with Japan – to develop the sixth-generation fighter jet.
The China Dossier. Meloni and Sunak also spoke of the “importance of cohesion between the G7, allies, and democracies to protect the rules-based international order, which is indispensable for economic security, even for the countries of the Global South”, of which Italy wants to be a champion. The unspoken, in this case as in the “growing interdependence between geographical macro-areas”, concerns China, with whom the West is trying to rewrite relations to limit the risks on supply chains.
- In particular, the Italian government has until the year’s end to decide whether to renew the memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative.
- In a recent interview, the Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani said the government is “reflecting” on whether to keep Italy in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The decision comes amid a wider Western realignment vis a vis Beijing, factoring in its increasing assertiveness and unfair market practices as long-term strategic threats.
- Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s reportedly told United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that Rome does intend to exit the BRI, although diplomatic advisers are still considering the details and timing of the decision to limit the nearly-inevitable economic backlash from China.
Focus on Africa. Meloni and Sunak also emphasised the importance of “implementing a policy of constructive cooperation with the countries of the Global South, with particular reference to Africa, with a partnership and non-predatory approach”.
- This is also to be able to address the common challenge, including climate change and radicalism. In October, the Italian government is expected to present the Mattei Plan for Africa at the Italy-Africa intergovernmental summit.
- In her inaugural speech to the Chamber of Deputies, Meloni spoke of the Mattei Plan for Africa and the Mediterranean as “a virtuous model of collaboration and growth between the European Union and African nations”.
- It is a proposal for an upstream approach to tackle the causes of migration that seems to have aroused British interest, given the influx of immigration to Italy, a country of transit to the rest of Europe.