Meloni prepares for the European Council. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni addressed the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday to explain Italy’s position vis-a-vis the international agenda of the European Council, which will take place on December 14th and 15th in Brussels.
On Ukraine. The European Council will be an opportunity to reiterate all-round support for the country in response to the Russian military aggression, according to PM Meloni. She added that support for Kyiv and the ongoing discussions for a twelfth sanctions package are aimed “at creating the conditions for serious negotiations towards a just, comprehensive, lasting peace that respects freedom and dignity of Ukraine.”
- The PM also stated that “Ukraine has already won this war because it has made the Russian conquest of the entire country impossible.” This was made possible “thanks to an incredible display of courage, but also thanks to the support of free Western peoples.”
- She also noted that the EU should continue to support projects such as the Solidarity Lanes and the Grain from Ukraine to allow for the export of food from the country.
- Finally, she added that revising the common budget should also aim to support EU member states facing the consequences of the war in their societies.
On the Middle East. “Italy reiterates its strong condemnation of Hamas’ terrorist attacks and Israel’s right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law,” PM Meloni said to the Chamber of Deputies. She also called for the continuation of humanitarian corridors to aid the Gaza population.
- She welcomed the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that allowed for the release of 105 civilians. “We continue to support every possible action” to ensure the release of “every hostage in the hands of Hamas is released,” she added.
- It is a priority for Italy, she said, that the Palestinian National Authority does not weaken as “the two-state solution” is the way to go to stop Hamas.
On Enlargement. Italy will express support for the accession of Ukraine, Moldova, and Bosnia Herzegovina, as well as for granting Georgia the candidate country status. Enlargement will “inevitably bring with it new challenges,” stressed PM Meloni. Italy will advocate, together with Austria, for the enlargement towards the Western Balkans.
- However, the PM emphasised that it will be “necessary to think about the budget and how EU policies are financed, as well as the effectiveness of European decision-making processes, in a context where tomorrow we could see 30 or more member states.”
- On Wednesday, she is expected to attend the EU-Western Balkans summit.
On the Stability and Growth Pact. Although not on the European Council’s agenda, PM Meloni discussed the progress regarding the Stability and Growth Pact – as the EU is expected to reach an agreement at the extraordinary ECOFIN meeting before the following week. The Italian PM praised Italy’s progress in reducing its deficit and repeated that now Italy is “a virtuous nation.”
- She noted that “for the first time, a decisive point that Italy has made since the beginning of the negotiations has been recognised and accepted by all the European partners.”
- She was referring to the latest draft agreement, which states that in the period 2025-2027, the adjustment of the deficit/GDP ratio (currently planned at 0.5% per year) will have to take into account the interest accrued on the debt incurred for the investments made in the green transition, digital innovation, and defence.
On security and defence. As for the future of European defence, “Italy and its defence industry are ready to play their part,” she said, expressing confidence in the European Defence Investment Programme, “which will be able to enhance our value chains and European expertise without jeopardising partnerships with our allies.”
- Therefore, at the next European Council, “in connection with the difficult international context in which we live, it will be useful to take stock of the collaboration at the European level in the areas of security and defence,” the Italian PM stressed. Strengthening cooperation on that front is needed to support common ambition and aid the EU’s partners, starting from Ukraine, she concluded.