Italy PM Meloni to meet EU chiefs in Brussels Thursday

Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (C), flanked by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Matteo Salvini (L) and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani (R), addresses the Italian Senate, ahead of a confidence vote in her government, at the Madama palace in Rome on October 26, 2022.

New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will meet EU chiefs in Brussels next week, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, both sides said Friday.

It will be their first face-to-face meeting since Meloni was sworn in following the historic victory of her far-right, Eurosceptic Brothers of Italy party in general elections last month.

Meloni will meet with “heads of European institutions” next Thursday, her office said, without specifying who.

In Brussels, EU spokesmen confirmed she would hold talks with von der Leyen and with European Council chief Charles Michel.

Meloni’s government, which includes Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, is the most right-wing to take office in Rome since World War II.

The 45-year-old has said she will stand up more for Italy’s interests in the EU, which she sees more as a confederation of sovereign nations than a political union.

However, in her first speech to parliament on Tuesday, Meloni took pains to emphasise she saw Italy as “fully part of Europe”.

She said her objective “is not to slow down or sabotage European integration”, but to make it more effective in dealing with crises.

After Meloni was sworn in last Saturday, von der Leyen said she looked forward to “constructive cooperation” with the new government.

The week after Brussels, Meloni will attend a meeting of heads of state at the COP UN climate change conference in Egypt on November 7 and 8.

She will also attend the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali on November 15 and 16, according to the schedule published by her office.

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