The newly elected Italian Prime Minister unveiled her policy priorities in her maiden speech to the lower house of parliament on Tuesday. After her first speech as Prime Minister in parliament, Giorgia Meloni took questions from opposition MPs on her government’s solutions to the energy crisis crippling the EU.
The Brothers of Italy leader took the opportunity to take a swipe at Germany and the Netherlands, blaming the two countries over their reluctance to agree to a bloc-wide price cap on Russian gas.
In doing so, Ms Meloni defended her ally Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban after he was accused of making talks difficult at the EU level.
Addressing the opposition, she said: “You always quote Orbán but is the attitude of Germany what we call Europeanism?
“It seems to me that the EU has missed some trains, and not because of the ‘sovereigntists’, who do not rule in the EU.”
In a warning to Brussels, she also vowed to fight for the EU Stability and Growth Pact to be changed as one of her first prerogatives.
She said: “We do not conceive of the European Union as an elitist club with first-class and second-class members, or worse, as a joint stock company run by a board of directors with the sole task of keeping the accounts in order.
“This government will respect the (EU) rules currently in force and at the same time offer its contribution to change those that have not worked, starting with the ongoing debate on the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact.”
She added: “It [the EU] should do less and do it better, and not have a word on everything.”
The Italian Prime Minister also planned for a thinly-veiled warning to Emmanuel Macron during her speech.
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She said: “Those from abroad who say they want to watch over Italy are not being disrespectful of me or this government, but are being disrespectful of the Italian people who, I want to say it clearly, do not have any lessons to learn from anyone.”
Ms Meloni has often attacked Mr Macron on many subjects ranging from the management of migratory flows, to the extradition of Italian brigadists, to the acquisitions of Italian industrial flagships by French companies, to disputes borders on the summit of Mont-Blanc.
Speaking at a pre-election rally, Ms Meloni said: “Disgusting is France that continues to exploit Africa by printing money to 14 African countries, charging them mint fees, and by children labour in the mines and by extracting raw material, as is happening in Niger.
“Where Frances extracts 30 percent of the uranium it needs to run its nuclear reactors, while 90 percent of Niger’s population lives without electricity.
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“Do not come to teach us lessons, Macron, the Africans are abandoning their continent because of you. The solution is not to transfer Africans to Europe, but liberate Africa from some Europeans. We will not accept lessons from you, is that clear?”
The comments came as French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne urged the European Union to uphold human rights values across the bloc in response to the Italian election results on September 26.
The French leader told RMC Radio that while she did not want to comment on Italians’ democratic choices, she nevertheless wanted to highlight that the European Union had certain values to uphold, such as on abortion and human rights.
She said: “In Europe, we have certain values and, obviously, we will be vigilant. It is a human rights value and the respect of others, namely the right to have access to abortion, should be upheld by all.”