Giorgia Meloni Says Pandemic, Ukraine Opened Europe’s Eyes to the Benefits of Realistic Conservative Leadership


Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni explained in a Sunday interview that the shocks of the past few years — including the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — have led the citizens of European nations to prefer the realistic policies of conservative parties.

Appearing on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures, Meloni was asked by Maria Bartiromo if Europe is rejecting social-democratic parties by choosing conservative leaders in countries like Italy and Greece. Meloni responded by saying: “I think that the shocks that we had in the last years — the pandemic crisis before, the war in Ukraine after — created some problems, many problems, and opened the eyes of many citizens about the fact that there is a fundamental difference between the conservatives and the leftists.”

According to Meloni, the latter want “a world that isn’t the world they live in.”

“But they don’t mind. That is what happens in Europe in my opinion. So they made lots of mistakes trying to follow their ideological approach,” explained Meloni. “I think citizens now…understand this difference, and in tough moments they want to be governed by someone who doesn’t follow ideological topics.”

During her wide-ranging interview, Meloni described her government’s response to a changing global environment — a world in which nations hostile to Western democratic values are gaining power.

Bartiromo first asked Meloni about her leadership on Ukraine and the amount Europe is contributing to the effort. On this issue, the Italian prime minister has considered continued engagement against a Russia that threatens democracy and freedoms and a sovereign neighbor to be imperative. Meloni said: “Italy has done a lot” and has suffered willingly for it. “That means inflation, that means energy bills, energy prices. That means raw material prices,” she explained.

Italy will take charge of the G-7 meeting next year and according to Meloni, there is more work to be done on global supply chains — work that began at the Japan meeting this year.

Meloni explained that globalization has had its faults. “We thought that free commerce without rules would solve our problems, could distribute richness [sic] and could democratize systems that were less democratic than ours. Didn’t happen,” said Meloni. “And the second thing that happened was that systems that were not democratic…on the institutional side…gained space in the world. Now they are stronger and we are more weak for we don’t control our supply chains. So what we have to do is rethink.”

China has presented a problem for all Western leaders to grapple with. Free trade may be a pillar of cooperation between democratic countries, but the situation is complicated when hostile actors who treat enterprise differently enter the frame, Meloni said.

Italy is the only member of the G-7 that is also a member of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Meloni said Italy has not yet made a decision on whether to withdraw, but said a final call will be made by December.

“The paradox with the Belt and Road Initiative is we are the only [nation] in the G-7 and the European Union [in it], but we are not the nation that has the best trade with China. That means you can have good relations with China without the Belt and Road Initiative,” Meloni explained.

“With China…we have to understand it is a system that is quite different than ours. The role that enterprise has is not the same…I mean our enterprises don’t have to pass the data to the government if the government asks and that is what makes the difference,” Meloni said, adding that when she talks about China she goes back to the question of globalization: “How we can manage the world in which we understood finally that commerce can be free only if it is also fair?”

“We ask much of our enterprises [in the West],” said Meloni, pointing to worker and environmental regulations. “When we have to trade with somebody who doesn’t…follow the same rules and doesn’t have the same standards…we are instead creating great problems for our economy.”

The Italian prime minister added that as leader of a country that neighbors Africa, she has observed that Western leaders are not paying enough attention to the continent.

“First of all Africa is not a poor continent. It is not. It is a continent that has many many resources…rare earth, metals, raw materials, 50 percent of arable lands. We’re not taking care of that,” explained Meloni. “Africa today is the victim of many external spoilers that work against its stability. It is something that can be used against us.” China also has an important presence in Africa, Meloni explained.

“While I think it’s normal everyone tries to defend its national interest. The problem is if we are able to do that. I mean what I don’t really agree with is the approach that sometimes the Western world has with these countries…We are always ready to give advice but not so ready to give a hand,” she said. “They don’t trust us a lot and I cannot say that they are completely wrong. That’s why in my opinion we have to change approach. What I want to do is bring investment to Africa. Bring investments not only to say we want to help… If you want to do serious things, you have to do things that are useful for both.”

According to Meloni, greater European cooperation with Africa would mean greater energy security for both continents.

“We have a problem in Europe about energy sources after the war but Africa is potentially an enormous producer of energy of every kind of energy: green energy, hydrogen, geothermic. They’ve got gas. They’ve got everything,” said Meloni. “If we help them take it out and produce this energy and we tie them with Europe, we will solve many problems together.”

The Italian prime minister also said it is imperative to fight traffickers who route migrants through Africa and into Europe illegally.

“We have to fight the traffickers,” explained Meloni. “What the traffickers are doing is incredible. These organizations are becoming always more powerful. And they use their power and [money] against the state. We cannot allow mafia to decide who’s coming to our countries.”

Source : National Review