Home News Meloni in the spotlight as Italy hosts G7 summit, boosted by elections

Meloni in the spotlight as Italy hosts G7 summit, boosted by elections


Five years ago, when her party won 6% of the vote in the European Parliament elections, Giorgia Meloni tried to open a bottle of sparkling wine but some supporters awkwardly uncorked it.

This week, Meroni, now Italy’s prime minister, emerged as the big winner in the election, celebrating with dozens of members of her Brothers of Italy party at a five-star hotel in Rome, where waiters carried bottles of wine in silver basins filled with ice. The Brothers of Italy party won nearly 29% of the vote. The victory is significant because Meroni is the only leader of a major Western European country to have seen an increase in support in the election.

The promotion comes at a perfect time for Merloni. All eyes are on Italy this week as she prepares to host the three-day Group of Seven summit that begins Thursday. It’s another chance for her to become a legitimate member of the world’s most influential leaders’ club.

Earlier on Monday, she told supporters after the election results were announced: “This country will go to the G7 and Europe as the strongest government possible. They can’t stop us.”

When she becomes prime minister in 2022, the entire European political world will tremble because of her far-right, Eurosceptic background and Her Post-Fascist Roots. The agency now believes she is A pragmatic partner Major international issues.

Ms. Meloni’s approach has in some ways set a model for other far-right leaders seeking to break into the mainstream.

In France, Marine Le Pen has softened her stance on key issues and has a more polished image. Her National Rally party performed strongly in the European elections, winning more than 30% of the vote, and President Emmanuel Macron Dissolve the National Assembly and hold new parliamentary elections.

“The Giorgia Meroni government has really polluted Europe,” Italian Brotherhood MP Giovanni Donzelli said late Sunday. “All over Europe the walls have fallen down — they realized that the right wing can govern well, too.”

In recent months, Europe’s center-right parties and parties further to the right of Meroni have reached out to her, seeing her as a potential ally in an attempt to build a unified nationalist front.

although The center holds In the new European Parliament, Meroni could still be a key figure in individual votes, the most immediate of which include the re-election of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who needs the legislature’s approval for a second term.

Experts say Meroni may decide to support von der Leyen in order to exert more influence in Brussels.

“Melloni will be a major player in Europe,” said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at consultancy Eurasia Group. “As Meloni moves closer to the center and plays a constructive role, she will reap a lot of rewards.”

On the wider international stage, Ms. Meloni has also played a major role in supporting issues such as Ukraine, setting her apart from other far-right figures who tend to be pro-Russian.

That puts her on good terms with Western leaders who gathered this week in Italy’s southern Puglia region, especially after the election.

“All eyes are on her,” said Roberto D’Alimonte, a political scientist at LUISS University in Rome. “Her profile has been raised even more.”

The G7 summit is attended by U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel are also scheduled to attend.

Ms. Meroni, who also invited Pope Francis, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and others, including several African leaders, promised to focus the summit on her development and cooperation plans with Africa.

The meeting will take place at Borgo Egnazia, a luxury resort with a gleaming pool surrounded by rosemary bushes and olive trees. Its stone townhouses and villas are filled with baskets of almonds and lemons, and its narrow alleys are filled with rusted bicycles and wooden chariots, signs of time.

But the whole place was built on land in the early 21st century It was razed by Mussolini to build an air base.The resort recreates an ancient Puglia town and farmhouses, with some locals comparing it to a Mediterranean Potemkin village.

World leaders will follow, along with guests including Madonna, the Beckhams and Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, who are getting married at the resort.

“Melloni wants to impress people, and I’m sure she will,” said Romeo Di Bari, 41, a shop owner in the town of Alberobello, where the leaders’ partners plan to visit. On a recent afternoon, boyfriends knelt on the cobblestones to film their girlfriends twirling around in the area’s distinctive pointy-roofed Trulli huts.

In the nearby city of Bari, locals praised Ms. Meroni for bringing new prestige to their region and country.

“Our country is at the forefront,” said Giovanni Pirlo, 68, a retired surveyor. “Our country has always been marginalized; now with Meroni, that has changed.”

Merloni has struck a delicate balancing act between aligning with European authority on international issues while pleasing domestic voters with his own views. A tough stance On abortion or LGBT rights, she pays little (and no cash) in Europe.

She also juggled the roles of woman of the people and international statesman, insisting on being on first-name terms with Italians, urging them to write “Georgia” on their ballots and claiming she was defending Italy’s interests in Brussels by helping conservatives pass immigration and environmental policies.

In Italy, Merloni leads a stable governing coalition that is supported by two weaker parties that desperately need him to stay in power. Silvio Berlusconi The party won about 10% of the vote in European Parliament elections after his death last year through a séance-like campaign using billboards with Berlusconi’s name and photo. Matteo SalviniThe League appeals to the right of Meroni voters, but its share of the vote fell from 34% in 2019 to 9% this year.

Experts say Italy’s nationalist leader’s biggest challenge may come from within her own country.

Productivity in Italy lags behind the European Union and wages have largely stagnated. While employment has grown, youth unemployment remains high in the south, and tens of thousands of young Italians leave the country each year.

In the town of Savelletri, near the G7 host site, locals whiled away the hours in a cafe near two newly built heliports as military trucks patrolled.

Stefano Martellotta, a 51-year-old fisherman, said he was not too concerned about the so-called G7 “show.” What he was worried about was that his two sons, aged 22 and 27, would have to move to the Netherlands to work in restaurant kitchens because in Italy “no one can offer them a decent salary,” he said.

“It’s terrible for us, our young people are leaving us,” said Annamaria Santorsola, 75, a mother and grandmother, adding that her region needed “jobs, not the G7.”

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