Meloni’s international policy objectives. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni laid out the policy objectives of her administration as she spoke at the Italian Ambassadors’ Conference on Tuesday – the sixteenth edition of an annual discussion on the promotion of Italian interests and values abroad that comes as Italy prepares to lead the G-7 presidency in 2024.
- The Italian PM underscored the importance of the upcoming G-7 as the group’s meeting has an “increasingly important role in the defence of democratic values, the protection of the rules-based international system and the ability to meet the challenges of our time.”
On Ukraine. The international order has been put into question since the Russian aggression in Ukraine, as explained by PM Meloni. “The future of Ukraine will determine whether the future will be one of peace or war, whether it will be based on the rules of international law or chaos,” she commented.
- “We must continue to oppose Russia’s aggression with all our might because the defence of Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence depends on the preservation of the international order based on rules,” she said.
- Most recently, her administration reiterated support to Kyiv by agreeing on an additional supply of weapons to the country.
On the Middle East. “The conflict in the Middle East remains, of course, at the top of our agenda,” argued PM Meloni, reiterating Italy’s support for Israel’s right to its existence and security. She also added that it is necessary to protect the lives of civilians, both Israelis and Palestinians. “The civilian population of Gaza is a victim of Hamas, and that is why humanitarian efforts must be intensified,” she said.
- “We must increase support for the Palestinian Authority, which has a crucial role in any political process and for a long-term solution on the ‘two peoples, two states’ mode,” the PM said.
- Italy has sent two aid flights, and the military ship Vulcano is docked in the Egyptian port of El Arish to treat injured Palestinians. Additionally, Italian paediatricians will join hospitals in the United Arab Emirates to treat the minors that continue to flow in from Gaza.
On Africa. The relationship with the Global South will be one of the key themes of our [G-7] Presidency, said PM Meloni, who added that it is a mistake to consider the phenomena affecting the continent – including famine and revolts – as “individual events” rather than a more profound crisis. Meloni’s administration is already committed to supporting Africa through the “Mattei Plan” – an investment-based approach to improve living conditions in the continent and prevent irregular migration.
- “Africa is not a poor continent, but a very rich one, particularly in strategic resources,” she said, adding that “with adequate technology and training, [Africa] can ensure food self-sufficiency and growth.”
- PM Meloni defined Italy as a “bridge between Africa and the rest of Europe” to support the region in adapting to climate change and fostering the energy transition.
- She also mentioned the closer level of collaboration through the EU-funded ElMed electricity interconnection project – a 230 km underwater electric link connecting Tunisia to mainland Italy through Sicily, supported by Italy’s Terna and Tunisia’s Steg.
- Finally, the Italian PM recalled that at the recent COP28 in Dubai, Italy announced that 70 per cent of the Italian Climate Fund – an investment programme to promote international environmental projects – would be allocated to Africa.
On the Indo-Pacific region. “Since we took office, we have relaunched Italy’s presence in this quadrant of the world, and we aim to exploit the opportunities arising from our geographical location,” said PM Meloni, adding that she is pleased with Rome’’s relationships with Tokyo and New Delhi, as these strategic partnerships strengthened over the past year.
- The Italian PM recalled the Blue Raman Project, which will connect the Indo-Pacific to the Mediterranean and allow data to flow from India to Europe via Italy and the Mediterranean.
- Italy also takes part in the Global Combat Air Programme together with the United Kingdom and Japan in order to develop the sixth generation of jets before 2035. The interconnection between the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific is at the core of the partnership.
On migration. Italy will be the first country to include migration issues on the G-7 agenda for the first time. Italy’s two “fundamental objectives” are to defeat those who exploit migrants and address the underlying causes of migration, to guarantee “the right not to have to emigrate,” Mr Meloni said.
- PM Meloni recalled Italy’s current efforts through ongoing partnerships with Tunisia and future agreements that will see closer collaboration with Egypt and Albania “to combat traffickers and allow only those entitled to international protection to enter European territory.”
On artificial intelligence. PM Meloni considers AI a “technology that can generate great opportunities but also enormous risks, as well as affecting the current geopolitical order.”
- “It is our task to develop a global governance system and to ensure that AI is human-centred and human-controlled,” she said.
- The Italian government had already indicated the need for international collaboration to ensure the emergence of effective regulation for new technologies under the G-7 framework.