Italy.  New Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni denies being a fascist

Italy. New Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni denies being a fascist

Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will deliver her general political speech on October 25, 2022. (©AFP/FILIPPO MONTEFORTE. Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni delivers her general political speech, October 25, 2022)

New prime minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday firmly anchored Italy in the heart of the EU and NATO in the process rejecting any “closeness” to fascism, a month to the day after the historic election victory of his far-right Fratelli d’Italia party and the disquiet it caused.

Italy is “fully part of Europe and the Western world”, she emphatically confirmed on Tuesday his political speech in front of the deputies, who then voted their confidence in his government at the beginning of the evening.

A former admirer of Mussolini

“I have never had any sympathy or closeness to anti-democratic regimes. For any regime, including fascism,” she insisted on singling out the one who was an admirer of Mussolini in her youth, even though she already assured in August that the right had “relegated fascism to history.”

The first female head of government in Italy’s history also promised the country would stay “a reliable NATO partner in support of Ukraine, which opposes Russian aggression”.

These statements are clearly intended to reassure the partners of Brussels and Romewhile Giorgia Meloni has pro-Russian partners in her coalition, including League leader Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi, a personal friend of Vladimir Putin.

Those who think that it is possible to exchange our peace for the freedom of Ukraine are wrong.

Giorgie MeloniPrime Minister of Italy

“Submitting to Putin’s energy blackmail would not solve the problem, it would make it worse, set the stage for more demands and blackmail, and future energy (price) increases even greater than we have known in recent months,” she said.

Improve the functioning of the community machine

With regard to the European Union, she explained that the Italian approach is not meant to “impede and sabotage European integration”, but to improve the functioning of the Community mechanism.

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“Italy will respect European rules”.she also assured, although Rome also wants “to help change those who do not work”.

The EU is “a common house that faces challenges that member states can hardly face alone,” she added, adding that the EU has not done enough in this area in the past.

“Who wonders” at the EU’s mistakes, “is not an enemy or a heretic, but someone who wants contribute to more effective European integration to face the great challenges ahead,” said Ms. Meloni, who took office on Sunday.

For Lorenzo Codogno, former chief economist of the Italian Ministry of Finance and visiting professor at the London School of Economics, these words, which confirm respect for democratic institutions and international alliances, show that “we are moving more towards a classical conservative government and not a regime with fascist tendencies”. .

A vote of confidence must be held on Wednesday in the Senate, where the Prime Minister also has an over-majority.

“Reduce the tax burden”

As inflation rages, she pledged, though without elaborating, “ strengthen support measures for households and businessesboth for utility and fuel bills’.

Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, leader of the 5 Star Movement (ex-anti-system, opposition) criticized the speech where “citizens did not hear a single word about solving their exorbitant bills or the energy crisis”.

Inflation increased by 8.9% year-on-year. in September and Italy has been particularly affected by the energy crisis due to its dependence on Russian gas imports.

The peninsula should enter in recession in 2023 while its debt reached 150% of GDP, the highest ratio in the Eurozone after Greece.

“The solution to reducing the debt is not blind austerity measures (…), but sustainable and structural economic growth,” argued the prime minister, whose speech was regularly interrupted by applause.

Immigration, taxes…

At the same time, he wants to “reduce the tax burden on companies and households”, while “the excessive weight of taxation is one of the main obstacles to job creation and the competitiveness of our companies on international markets.”.

As for the nearly €200 billion in windfall grants and loans that the EU provided under its post-pandemic recovery fund, it pledged to spend them “at best by negotiating with the European Commission on the necessary adjustments (…), especially in in light of rising commodity prices and the energy crisis’.

On the issue of illegal immigration, a battle horse of the far right, she confirmed her government’s desire to “stop illegal departures (from Africa, editor’s note) and end human trafficking” in the Mediterranean.

Source: © 2022 AFP

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