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Italy’s Meloni ‘satisfied’ by first attempt of dialogue with EU

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on November 3, 2022. (Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency)
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Nov 04, 2022 - 02:10 AM

ROME (AA) – ​​​​​​​ Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s new far-right prime minister, said on Thursday she was “satisfied” after holding in Brussels her first meetings with EU’s top officials, addressing with them controversial topics like energy prices and migration.

Meloni met first European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, and then EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, before joining for dinner Charles Michel, head of the European Council.

The round of talks in Brussels was seen as a first step by the newly appointed premier to start a dialogue with the EU. In the past Meloni – head of the far-right and euro-skeptic Brothers of Italy party – often attacked EU institutions as one of the main causes of Italy’s problems.

However, after a sound victory in September’s election, Meloni clearly softened her anti-EU tones, in an evident attempt to appease her EU counterparts and start negotiations on urgent issues, starting with the energy crisis and the possibility of asking for wider budget flexibility to help struggling families and businesses.

“It seems to me that a very frank and positive dialogue has been established,” Meloni told reporters in Brussels after her meetings. “I am happy with how this day went … there is a need to provide a concrete solution to the energy crisis as soon as possible.”

Meloni said she also addressed with EU’s top officials the controversial issue of migration flows.

“We spoke about the Italian request for a change of view (on migration). The priority for us is already foreseen by European regulations, and that’s the defense of our external borders.”

Meloni’s far-right government has pledged a tough approach on illegal migration, promising a crackdown on smugglers and clandestine boats departing from North African coasts.

In the past few days, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi gave a strong signal on the government’s new stance by not responding to repeated requests from three humanitarian vessels to provide them a safe port for almost 1,000 rescued migrants on board.

“We are not Martians, we’re real people,” Meloni said, commenting on the outcome of her first Brussels trip. “On the other side, I found people who seemed open to listen.”

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