Russia: Orban wants EU sanctions lifted by end of 2022

ROME: Giorgia Meloni, who with her post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia party won a historic victory in the legislative elections, should be officially called Friday as prime minister, becoming the first woman to hold the post in Italy.

The 45-year-old Roman, who managed to “de-demonize” her party to come to power exactly a century after Mussolini, was summoned at 2:30 p.m. GMT to the Quirinal Palace by the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, who should then charge her to form a government.

She has already met in the morning with the president as part of the consultations preceding the appointment of a government.

During this fifteen-minute meeting, Ms. Meloni was accompanied by her allies Matteo Salvini, the populist leader of the Antimigrant League, and Silvio Berlusconi, the declining leader of Forza Italia. Their coalition has an absolute majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

“We are awaiting the decision of the President of the Republic and we are already ready, we want to move forward as quickly as possible,” said Ms. Meloni after the interview, referring to an “important moment for the nation”.


At a time when the third largest economy in the euro zone is facing, like its neighbours, a difficult economic situation due to the energy crisis and inflation, its task promises to be difficult, especially since it will have to ensure the unity of his coalition which is already showing cracks.

MM. Salvini and Berlusconi are reluctant to accept the authority of Giorgia Meloni, whose party won 26% of the vote in the September 25 elections, against only 8% for Forza Italia and 9% for the League.

The media have echoed the multiple passes of arms between the three leaders on the distribution of positions in Parliament and within the future government.

An Atlanticist herself and in favor of support for Ukraine against Russia, Ms Meloni had to face this week the controversial remarks of Mr Berlusconi, who claimed to have “reconnected” with Vladimir Putin and blamed kyiv for the war.

Statements of the worst effect while the coming to power of this predominantly Eurosceptic coalition is closely followed by the chancelleries. Ms. Meloni felt compelled to correct the situation on Wednesday by saying that Italy is “fully part and with its head held high” of Europe and NATO.

The composition of his government should also reflect this desire to reassure Rome’s partners. Former President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, a member of Forza Italia, is the favorite for Foreign Affairs, and Giancarlo Giorgetti, a representative of the moderate wing of the League already a minister in the outgoing government of Mario Draghi, holds the rope for the economy.

Ms Meloni and her ministers could be sworn in this weekend before tackling the many challenges ahead.

Inflation in the peninsula increased in September by 8.9% over one year and Italy risks entering a technical recession next year, alongside Germany. Room for maneuver is limited by a colossal debt representing 150% of gross domestic product (GDP), the highest ratio in the euro zone after Greece.

The European Council on Friday paid tribute to outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who himself reaffirmed his country’s European commitment: “everyone considers the EU to be a source of security, stability and peace: we must keep her in mind as the North Star for the future, especially in difficult times like these”.

A notorious Eurosceptic, Ms Meloni has given up campaigning for an exit from the euro, but she has promised to defend her country’s interests more in Brussels. And this while growth depends on nearly 200 billion euros in grants and loans from the European Union as part of its post-pandemic recovery fund.

Stuck between the hammer of her “allies” and the anvil of Brussels and the markets, Giorgia Meloni already seems on the razor’s edge even before taking office, almost a tradition in a country known for its chronic governmental instability.

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Russia: Orban wants EU sanctions lifted by end of 2022