Meloni Welcomes Discussions on Italian Leadership in EU Institutions

Italian PM Meloni open to EU leadership roles, strengthens ties with Tunisia on migration, as Italy seeks to shape EU's future amid challenges.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Meloni Welcomes Discussions on Italian Leadership in EU Institutions

Meloni Welcomes Discussions on Italian Leadership in EU Institutions

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has expressed openness to discussions about Italy taking on leadership roles in European Union institutions. During a recent extraordinary summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels, Meloni was pressed by journalists about the possibility of her becoming the President of the European Commission or the Council in the future.

While Meloni dismissed speculations about specific roles, stating that "deciding who does what before the citizens vote is something you won't agree to," she emphasized the importance of focusing on practical work and the contributions made by Italian leaders like Mario Draghi and Enrico Letta on the future of Europe. Meloni highlighted the challenges facing the EU, such as climate change, demographic shifts, and international crises.

During her visit to Brussels, Meloni also attended a Special European Council meeting where EU leaders discussed providing further support to Lebanon, particularly in assisting vulnerable populations, combating human trafficking, and addressing the regional situation in the Middle East following Iran's attack on Israel. Meloni expressed satisfaction with the progress made on these issues, which were added to the agenda at Italy's request.

In addition to her EU engagements, Meloni has been actively involved in strengthening Italy's ties with Tunisia, a key partner in addressing irregular migration. She recently made her fourth visit to Tunisia in less than a year, meeting with President Kais Saied and announcing several cooperation protocols, including direct support for Tunisia's state budget, credit lines for small businesses, and academic collaboration.

Meloni's ambitious Africa policy is closely linked to her migration strategy, which aims to end irregular arrivals on Italian territory. As the European elections in June approach, Meloni is counting on Tunisia's cooperation to prevent a potential spike in migrant arrivals that could have politically disastrous effects.

Why this matters: Meloni's openness to discussions about Italian leadership in EU institutions and her active engagement with key partners like Tunisia highlight Italy's growing influence and ambitions within the European Union. As the EU faces significant challenges, Italy's role in shaping the bloc's future policies and priorities is likely to become increasingly important.

During the European Council's discussions on strengthening the EU's competitiveness and the Single Market, former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta presented a report outlining tools to help the EU catch up with the US, particularly in the areas of green and digital transitions. The Council agreed on the need for a new European Competitiveness Pact to address gaps in growth, productivity, and innovation between the EU and its global competitors. Meloni expressed support for the insights inspired by the Italian example, while some member states raised concerns about centralization of supervisory functions and taxation.

Key Takeaways

  • Meloni open to Italy taking EU leadership roles, but dismisses speculation.
  • Meloni highlights Italian leaders' contributions to EU's future, challenges it faces.
  • Meloni attends EU summit, secures agenda items on Lebanon and Middle East.
  • Meloni strengthens Italy's ties with Tunisia to address irregular migration.
  • Meloni supports EU competitiveness pact, but some states raise concerns.