網路城邦
回本城市首頁 時事論壇
市長:胡卜凱  副市長:
加入本城市推薦本城市加入我的最愛訂閱最新文章
udn城市政治社會政治時事【時事論壇】城市/討論區/
討論區政治和社會 字體:
看回應文章  上一個討論主題 回文章列表 下一個討論主題
義大利新總理梅洛妮
 瀏覽1,260|回應2推薦1

胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

義大利人民在09/25星期天的大選中選出該國歷史上第一位女性總理,也是第二次世界大戰後的第一位右翼政黨內閣由於義大利式歐盟第三大國和第三大經濟體,梅洛妮領導下的義大利對歐洲和國際政治將有一定程度的衝擊。以下選錄一篇報導,一年後再比較、比較後續的發展。

 

It's Not About Mussolini, Searching For The Real Giorgia Meloni

As the right-wing coalition tops Italian elections, far-right leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, is set to become Italy's next prime minister. Both her autobiography and the just concluded campaign help fill in the holes in someone whose roots are in Italy's post-fascist political parties.

Alessandro Calvi,

ROME — After Sunday’s national election results, Italy is set to have its first ever woman prime minister. But Giorgia Meloni has been drawing extra attention both inside and outside of the country because of her ideology, not her gender.

 

Her far-right pedigree in a country that invented fascism a century ago has had commentators rummaging through the past of Meloni and her colleagues in the Brothers of Italy party in search of references to Benito Mussolini.

 

But even as her victory speech spoke of uniting the country, it is far more useful to listen to what she herself has said since entering politics to understand the vision the 45-year-old lifelong politician has for Italy’s future.

 

Meloni led a careful campaign, generally keeping a low profile as her support solidified and Brothers of Italy became the leading choice among the right-wing parties. One exception was at a June rally of the Spanish right-wing party Vox, when she declared: “Yes to the traditional family, no to the LGBT lobbies”. But in general there were few clear signs of ideological excess in her campaign.

 

Her recent moderate turn remains however significant if one considers that the European Union may in the coming months limit the possibility for the new government to deviate from the line pursued by outgoing Prime Minister Draghi. The electorate of Brothers of Italy won’t not like the pro-European line, which could mean that traditional right-wing themes like anti- immigration and challenges to abortion rights, could be the ideal ground for compensating for any discontent.

 

Abortion, LBGTQ, Immigration 

 

Perhaps in these gray areas is where the kind of Italy envisioned by the right will begin to take shape in reality.

 

During a debate, while talking about the law on abortion, Meloni stated: “We have never asked to abolish it, not even to amend it, but only to implement it in its entirety, including by ensuring support for women who choose to carry on their pregnancy.”

 

On the other hand, the electoral program of Brothers of Italy clearly states its commitment to “protect human life from its inception.” And Meloni addresses the issue in her autobiography: “Each one of us, from the moment of conception forever, is the bearer of a unique and unrepeatable genetic code. This, like it or not, has something sacred about it”.

 

It is therefore clear what could happen to the right to abortion that has been guaranteed since 1978. Emma Bonino, the leader of the center-left party +Europa and a long-standing pro-choice activist, has warned that the law could be challenged not “in a transparent way, through an amendment proposal,” but “in a more subtle way,” for instance by continuing not to implement it fully.

 

La Stampa journalist Francesca Schianchi explained that Italy has an extremely high percentage of “conscientious objectors” among medical staff, who have the right to refuse to perform abortions. This makes it “very difficult for women to exercise their right to abortion, and the guidelines on the use of the RU-486 pill are not followed everywhere,” writes Schianchi. “Then perhaps ‘fully implementing’ the law also means removing those obstacles.”

 

The first point in the program of Brothers of Italy is precisely devoted to increasing the birth rate and supporting families, considered as “the founding element of society and what makes ‘a Nation truly sovereign and spiritually strong’ (Pope John Paul II)”. Hence the motto “God, homeland and family” recently claimed by Meloni as “the most beautiful manifesto of love that spans the centuries.”

 

But in the kind of Italy imagined by the right-wing leader, this manifesto of love does not apply to everyone: Her program firmly reiterates the “prohibition of same-sex adoption.” Interestingly, this is stated not in the section devoted to family policies, but in the one devoted to “the protection of the freedom and the dignity of every person,” as if to put a symbolic distance from the traditional family.

 

Maybe not fascism, but populism

 

Another core issue is the form of government, which the right-wing wants to reform toward a presidential system, where the President of the Republic is elected directly by the population and coincides with the head of the government. Italy is currently a parliamentary Republic, where the prime minister is not elected directly by the citizens. The founding fathers wanted it that way because Italy was recovering from 20 years of fascist dictatorship and they wanted to avoid another strongman. For this reason too, Giorgia Meloni’s project has raised concerns.

 

However, more than 70 years after Italy’s post-War Constitution took effect, the constant criticism based on Brothers of Italy’s political roots in the post-fascist Italian Social Movement party is unconvincing.

 

What instead is more troubling is the anti-parliament vein that runs through the current right-wing’s ideology. “A free and mature people," Meloni states in her autobiography, "choose and elect their rulers without allowing the Palace to distort their will.” What Meloni calls “the Palace” is the parliament, the body that, according to the Constitution, represents directly the will of the people.

Thus, with the rejection of any political relationship other than the direct bond between the people and its leader, anti-parliamentarism has a notable ring of populism.

 

The right-wing declares government stability as its primary goal. The fact is, in the severely distressed conditions in which the current political system finds itself — with a parliament already deprived by the government of its legislative function, and with the increasingly strong tendency to identify parties with leaders — the stability ensured by the direct election of the head of state risks translating into an unmitigated domination of the majority, or worse, of its leader.

 

A closed country

 

Beyond such key issues as the family and the presidential reform, other elements of Meloni’s recent campaign offer a peek at the the kind of Italy that she has in mind. Tougher sentencing for convicted criminals is another favorite topic, along with a new prison construction plan and increase in police personnel. More prisons, in short. More walls.

 

This program well depict the vision of the country that permeates the right-wing propaganda: that of a closed country, focused on its own fears and structurally defensive. A country that, in order to reinforce its identity, seems to require reassurances that are as solid as the walls of a prison cell, and which can at the same time acquire a significant symbolic dimension. About her home during the years when she was a minister — from 2008 to 2011, in the last Berlusconi’s government —, Meloni recalls: “I used to spend my days dodging pitfalls, facing problems, debating, fighting. But in there, once I closed the door, I felt safe, finally peaceful, free. That’s how you fully understand the value of walls and borders”.

 

Her autobiography — which should be read as a true political manifesto — is punctuated with a strong tone of recrimination, as were some of her campaign experiences. “I am often trivialized or ghettoized by the intelligentsia because of what I say, regardless of how and why I say it.”

 

And later in the memoire: “I am proud not to be like them, who like to debate about people and their misfortunes from the comfort of their villas, sipping Champagne in bare feet and wearing long white linen dresses.”

 

And still on the subject of her left-wing critics: “I take great care not to please those people. Their hostility is like the North Star for me, confirming that I’m following the right course.”

 

Meloni concludes: “They will accuse me of being fascist all my life, but I don’t care, because in any case Italians don’t believe this nonsense anymore.”

 

She may not be entirely wrong, and certainly the propaganda against her has also been fueled by many fantasies, sometimes even ridiculous, about a possible return of fascism should she become prime minister.

 

In order to understand what is the Italy she imagines, it is sufficient to listen to what Meloni and her party say and do today. The point is not fascism, but rather a different Italy to come. “Someone unwisely makes comparisons with regimes from the past,” observed the center-left former Prime Minister Romano Prodi. “The challenge of a mature democracy is much more complex than it used to be, it is a question of alliances, friendships, values. From this point of view, the risk still exists.”



本文於 修改第 4 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘

引用
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7179172
 回應文章
義大利總理梅洛妮讓人跌破眼鏡 -- Ronald H. Linden/Emilia Zankina
推薦1


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

義大利總理梅洛妮是另一位選前言論和選後政策不同的政客;但她這個「不同」,卻贏得主流評論家們的喝彩與掌聲

我雖然年老力衰懶得過問歐洲各小國事務;但是歐盟畢竟佔著三分天下有其一的地位。相關訊息還是得存檔備查。


Italy Steps Up: Janus in the New World

Italy’s profile as a supporter of the EU and NATO has risen since the inauguration of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Ronald H. Linden/Emilia Zankina, 01/28/24

In ancient Rome, Janus was revered as the two-faced god of beginnings and transitions. Hence comes the naming of the first month of the year, January. In modern Rome, the government of Giorgia Meloni has adopted a Janus-like stance as it encounters a new global environment. Her government’s foreign policy entails vigorous support of and closer alliance with the West. At home, illiberal, even harsh, rhetoric sets the tone on social issues and immigration. 

At the time of Meloni’s inauguration in October 2022, the world was undergoing the most comprehensive and rapid changes since the end of the Cold War. Like its NATO and EU allies, the new government did not have the luxury of sticking to the status quo. This was not only because of the severe nature of the changes, including the war in Ukraine and a global pandemic, but also because Italy was now expected to take responsibility commensurate with its heightened place of power in an EU diminished by the loss of the UK.

Since 2019, Europe, the United States, and the world have seen several significant changes affecting the policies of all states, including Italy:

The Global Pandemic. In Europe, COVID hit first and worst in Italy, the country with the most vulnerable population in Europe. The economy and foreign trade slumped. What had been dynamic trade and investment growth between EU members and China dropped sharply. COVID especially damaged Italy’s view of China as Beijing rejected responsibility for the spread of the disease. Despite touting its aid packages, China largely left richer European countries out of its COVID diplomacy. Instead, Italy received billions of euros in COVID aid from the EU, and Western countries could respond and recover quickly, while China languished under a nationwide lockdown.

A Different EU. As of 2021, Italy became the bloc’s third-largest economy and second-most powerful military. The departure of the UK also left Italy as the third leading recipient of Chinese investment inside the EU (after Germany and France), a distinction made all the more important by the EU’s implementation in 2020 of a foreign investment screening mechanism. It is also the third leading customer for Chinese goods, which account for nearly 18 percent of Italy’s non-EU imports. At home, the Chinese community in Italy is the largest in Europe, numbering more than 300,000 people. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin’s decision to invade his neighbor galvanized Western opposition to international aggression in a way that the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the creation of puppet states in eastern Ukraine had not. NATO was reinvigorated and enlarged. Against all expectations, the EU adopted and expanded trade and financial sanctions against Russia that have held. This led virtually all of Europe to radically reduce their imports of energy from Russia (especially natural gas) and shift to alternative suppliers like Algeria and the United States. Before the war, 40 percent of Italy’s gas imports came from Russia; a year later, this figure was less than half that percentage. Both NATO and the EU have gained stature and clout not seen since the days of the communist collapse in Eastern Europe. In contrast, Russia saw more than 1,000 multinational companies pull out, and one-half million of its most highly qualified citizens leave as a result of the country’s isolation and Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism.

The weakening of China. In the last decade, China’s once robust growth rates have fallen, a decline reinforced by COVID-19 and its aftermath. Both inward and outward direct investment have plummeted, with Chinese investment in Europe falling by more than 40 percent since its peak in 2018. Even before COVID, Beijing’s policies, such as favoring its own state-run enterprises, heavily skewed trade balances, and unfilled growth promises, damaged China’s appeal. As Europe’s suspicion of predatory Chinese policies grew and Beijing’s relations with the United States soured, global firms grew wary and sought returns elsewhere. Chinese presence in the global market has fallen—exports were down nearly 5 percent in 2023—and shifted toward more compatible political allies, like Russia, where trade was up more than 26 percent.

Using nationalism as a substitute for weakening economic payoffs, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has reinforced Chinese military presence in the South China Sea and parroted Russia’s view of the causes of its war against Ukraine. Along with the shrinking and criticism of its centerpiece “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) China’s posture as a protector of national sovereignty has been discredited. Chinese rhetoric and actions have provoked more defensive security postures from Japan, Australia, NATO, and the EU, as well as unprecedented political and military cooperation in South Asia and the South Pacific. More directly, Beijing’s aping Moscow stimulated worries about China with a “Ukraine is the future of Taiwan” theme. In the current world of skewed multipolarity, Chinese influence and power are at their lowest point since the creation of the BRI.

U.S.-China Tensions. Confrontational trade policies, begun under the volatile administration of Donald Trump, have continued under Joseph Biden and have primarily focused on limiting Chinese access to high-end technology. U.S.-China trade in 2023 fell by more than 13 percent, and Chinese investment in the United States has “all but disappeared,” according to AEI’s Global Investment Tracker. Military maneuvers, as well as rhetoric around Taiwan and its recent elections, have increased the island’s salience to levels not seen since the Cold War. Real and proposed restrictions on Chinese investment and trade in the United States have been mirrored in Europe as the EU pursues a “de-risk” strategy to reduce its dependence on Chinese goods and money. As Xi Jinping has tightened his grip on power and continued repressive measures on groups such as the Uighurs, pressure has grown on Europeans to speak out, and members like Italy and the EU’s own institutions have done so.

War in the Middle East. The long and tense standoff between Israel and the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip erupted into brutal violence with the terrorist attack on kibbutzniks, music festival attendees, and other civilians on October 7, 2023. That attack and Israel’s devastating response in Gaza meant that whatever “balance” had existed, allowing European states and the United States to pursue a slow and steady path toward “normalcy” in the region, was destroyed. Governments worldwide have been obliged to respond to this warfare and other regional consequences within the constraints of their alliances and complex societies.

The Rightward Election in Italy

Founded in 2012, Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) party was long on the sidelines of politics, achieving under 2 percent of the vote in the 2013 general election and under 5 percent in 2018. The fracturing in 2019 of the diverse coalition headed by the Five Star Movement led to two consecutive governments led by Giuseppe Conte, then a new coalition led by the former head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, which lasted twenty months. Amid these shifting dynamics, Giorgia Meloni’s campaign in 2022 combined right-wing political and social positions with intensely personal postures. She promised to defend the Italian nation under the slogan “Pronti” (ready). But, she showed a moderate position on geostrategic matters and a firm commitment to the EU, NATO, and the trans-Atlantic partnership. Meloni dampened anti-EU rhetoric and offered fulsome support for Ukraine.

Looking inward, she pledged to reverse the country’s “economic, social and cultural decline,” promoting tax cuts for Italian companies and families, protection of Italian businesses and workers, and policies to increase birth rates. During the campaign, she portrayed herself as a hard-working unmarried mother living (at the time) with the father of her child. In the 2022 election, the Brothers of Italy placed first with 26 percent of the vote. They formed a coalition that included the nationalist Lega (League) led by Matteo Salvini and the center-right Forza Italia (Go Italy) led then by Silvio Berlusconi.

A year into her premiership and following the death of Silvio Berlusconi in June 2023, Meloni remains the most popular politician in the country with 44 percent approval ratings, while her party is supported by 30 percent. Though Meloni’s government represents the most right-leaning coalition in Italian republican history, fears that Meloni would take Italy down a radical-right path with disastrous consequences for the Western alliance have not materialized. At the same time, the government has followed a script of calculated attacks on cultural movements (e.g. gay rights) deemed dangerous for the country and its people. It promises to limit migration, especially from Africa. Utilizing executive decrees much more than her predecessors, Meloni’s numerous initiatives are more for show than impact, with proposals like the decree on selective acceptance of migrants and a ban on adult male migrants struck down as unconstitutional or watered-down in Parliament.

A Newly Muscular Partner

Domestic rhetoric notwithstanding, Meloni’s external policies and commitments to activism have been heartening to its Atlantic allies. Italy is now the most capable naval power in the Mediterranean. It is increasingly seen as the preferred partner there, as NATO ally Turkey clashes with Greece and appears unwilling to cut economic ties to Russia. While Ankara has been denied the sale of the most advanced F-35 fighters because it purchased a Russian anti-missile system, Italy’s highly skilled engineering sector plays a crucial role in producing and selling this fighter

More broadly, Rome has taken firm stances against challenges to Western hegemony—whether from Russia or China. In response to the Russian invasion, Italy has been one of the most vigorous supporters of Ukraine, both in rhetoric and material, 
including anti-tank systems, rockets, and surface-to-air missiles. Rome strongly supports Kyiv’s path to EU membership and its reconstruction. In November 2023, the Meloni government began discussing a long-term defense agreement with Ukraine. The country sharply cut imports from Russia in support of sanctions. Purchases of Russian natural gas fell by two-thirds after the invasion and were replaced with gas from Northern Europe and LNG from Qatar and the United States. To adjust, Italy imposed nationwide gas rationing that cut heating levels to both public and private buildings.

Relations with China have cooled sharply, a process begun under the previous government. Like Mario Draghi, Prime Minister Meloni invoked Italy’s “golden powers” to block prerogatives by China’s Sinochem in the Pirelli Tire company despite its more than one-third share of ownership. Unlike Germany or France, Italy did not try to parse or water down the EU’s initiative to “de-risk” political and economic ties with China. Europe’s leaders have produced strong criticism of China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, its threats to Taiwan, and its suppression of human rights. Economic measures under consideration involve export controls, strengthening of scrutiny of Chinese investments into the EU, and, for the first time, vetting Chinese investments into the EU and those of EU firms in China

In an unprecedented move in the spring of 2023, Italy sent the aircraft carrier Cavour and its accompanying flotilla into the South Pacific, an unmistakable show of closer alignment with the U.S. stance on Chinese claim to hegemony in the region. The carrier headed to Japan to brandish strong ties (including joint production of the F-35 fighter) with an alarmed—and rearming—Japan. In 2023, Italy upgraded its relations with Japan to the “strategic” level during a visit of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Rome. It did the same with India during an exchange of high-level visits. In October, a second representative office of the Taiwan government opened in Milan in a ceremony attended by the Taiwanese Foreign Minister.

After signaling for months that it would not renew its agreement to be part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, Rome officially withdrew in December 2023. Expected gains in trade and investment within this framework had not materialized. As the only G-7 country to have joined, Italy’s position was discordant with both the United States and the EU. Instead, the Meloni government has indicated that it will work to “revitalize” its longstanding strategic partnership with China.

When war broke out in the Middle East, the Meloni government made clear its condemnation of the Hamas terrorist attack and support of Israel. At the end of November, Rome abstained on a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a ceasefire because the declaration did not condemn Hamas or support Israel’s right to defend itself. Its stance has generally hewed closely to that of the United States and its major EU partners—calling for sanctions against Hamas, for example. The Meloni government has engaged in both its own and multilateral diplomacy to end the fighting and support a two-state solution. At the same time, when attacks by Houthi rebels on shipping in the region began, the Defense Ministry sent a second frigate to help boost the ongoing EU anti-piracy operation.

Italy’s dance with the EU itself has been complex, owing to earlier policies imposed on Rome when Italy found its national debt level untenable. But with some €70 billion in Recovery Funds smoothing the way, widespread fears that the Meloni government would derail the EU’s actions were not realized. In any case, budget policies have turned out not to be the most prominent bone of contention in new Italy-EU relations.

Migration and Gay Rights: Janus Faces Inward

No policy area better illustrates the Janus-like nature of Rome’s policies than its attempt to deal with tens of thousands of African, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrants in a way that satisfies key domestic constituencies while not alienating EU allies.

Both Prime Minister Meloni and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini have promised to stop the hazardous journeys of overfilled boats across the Mediterranean. A controversial decree was made a law by Parliament in May 2023, authorizing the detention of migrants in so-called Repatriation Detention Centers where conditions resemble prisons. The law was met with an outcry by magistrates, including a judge from Catania who refused to enforce the law and liberated on at least two occasions detained migrants, resulting in a major scandal, accusations, and defamation by members of the governing coalition. Another decree approved at the end of 2022 mandated that rescue ships can only carry out one rescue at a time and must dock and unload migrants before going out again. The decree puts significant limitations on rescue efforts and has been repeatedly violated by Italy’s own Coastal Guard. Most dramatically, the government produced an agreement with Albania that envisioned opening two centers for migrants there with costs to be covered by Italy. In December 2023, the Albanian Constitutional Court blocked the agreement’s ratification, making its future uncertain. 

Despite these and other harsh measures, the number of migrants in 2023 more than doubled compared to 2021, surpassing 150,000. Meanwhile, Meloni has also turned to the EU for help, hoping Brussels will conclude an agreement with Tunisia that mirrors the Libyan “naval blockade” that targets boats with migrants, a practice that has drawn much criticism.

In domestic policy, Meloni has led a vigorous charge aimed at restricting gay rights. In July 2023, Parliament passed a law that criminalizes parents who use surrogates to produce and adopt children, even if the process was legally carried out overseas. The law resulted in outrage among the LGBTQ+ community. All the while, Meloni has insisted that a child needs a father and a mother. However, the prime minister herself recently separated from the father of her child, whom she never married.

Tests Ahead

For Giorgia Meloni and her coalition partners, the choices for Italy in the new dangerous world are both civilizational and pragmatic, symbolic and instrumental. The practical consequences of leaving the BRI, for example, are few. High levels of Chinese investment in the UK, France, and Germany demonstrate that a BRI framework is unnecessary. However, reversing this policy has enormous symbolic significance as a demonstration of strong allied ties. Perhaps serendipitously, restricting Chinese investment in Sinochem also paved the way for an increased stake by an Italian company

Globally, closer cooperation with the EU and tighter alliance with the United States—for example, in the Indo-Pacific—not only secure concrete gains, e.g., for the Italian defense industry, but also provide Rome with the structure and platform on which the Meloni government can take its stance as a critical ally.

The challenge for Rome will come as that allied superstructure weakens. The level of new Western material support for Ukraine, for example, has fallen to its lowest level since the start of the war. Europe’s unity in condemning Hamas’ attack on Israel is being tested by the horrific humanitarian crisis the war has produced and by political divisions at home. Most directly—and most emblematic of the pressure on Rome’s contemporary Janus—the Meloni government needs to find a way to effectively respond to people’s desperate search for a better life that lands them on its shores—which are also those of the EU.

Ronald H. Linden is Professor Emeritus of Political Science and former Director of European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. During the spring of 2023, he was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science of Sapienza University, Rome. Recent publications include Is the Chinese Dream Turning into a Chinese Nightmare for Beijing?

Emilia Zankina is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Dean of Temple University Rome. Recent publications include The Impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War on Right-Wing Populism in Europe, with Gilles Ivaldi and A Delicate Balancing Act: Turkish-Bulgarian Relations within the Context of Foreign and Domestic Politics.

本文於 修改第 1 次
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7222050
義大利總理梅洛妮就任一年 – Frances D’emilio
推薦1


胡卜凱
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
文章推薦人 (1)

胡卜凱

Italy's far-right Premier Meloni defies fears of harming democracy and clashing with the EU

, 10/18/23

ROME (AP) — When Giorgia Meloni took office a year ago as the first far-right premier in Italy’s post-war history, many in Europe worried about the prospect of the country's democratic backsliding and resistance to European Union rules.

The European Commission president issued a decidedly undiplomatic warning that Europe had “the tools” to deal with any member, including Italy, if things went “in a difficult direction.” There were fears in Brussels that Rome could join a strident nationalist bloc, notably Hungary and Poland, in a clash with EU democratic standards.

But since being sworn in, Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party has neo-fascist roots, has confounded Western skeptics.

She has steadfastly backed NATO support for Ukraine, especially on military aid for Kyiv against Russia’s invasion. That’s no small feat.

Her main governing coalition partners are parties whose leadership was long marked by pro-Russian sympathies — the League of Matteo Salvini, and Forza Italia, founded by Silvio Berlusconi, the late former premier who was feted at his last birthday with bottles of vodka sent by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The first woman to be Italy's premier, Meloni "won out against Salvini and Berlusconi. She showed that she emancipated herself against these two male leaders,'' said political analyst Massimo Franco.

While Meloni ran an election campaign “raging against Europe″ and ”promising she would clash with Brussels over budget issues″ once in office, she
didn’t do either, noted Tommaso Grossi, a policy analyst for the European Policy Centre, a Brussels-based think tank.

Meloni's first trip abroad as premier was to Brussels. After meeting with the EU's most powerful officials, including Commission President Ursula von der Leyen — who raised the democracy warning — Meloni ventured that the encounters probably helped “dismantle a narrative about yours truly.”

When Meloni was hosted at the White House in July by President Joe Biden, the welcome was warm – reflecting in part her apparent resolve to end Italy’s participation in a Chinese infrastructure-building initiative known as Belt and Road that has worried the West.

Fears for Italy's democracy have proved to be “exaggerated,’’ said Franco, who noted that Italy's president serves as a guarantor of the republic's post-war constitution. “The real risk for Italy is not authoritarian, it’s chaos, it’s an incompetent ruling class."

In her own words, Meloni's biggest challenge is illegal migration.

“Clearly I had hoped to do better on migrants,″ she told Italian Rai state TV in an interview marking her year in office. ”The results weren’t what we had hoped to see.”

Meloni had campaigned with an unrealistic — and unrealized — promise of a naval blockade of the northern African coasts where migrant smugglers launch overcrowded, unseaworthy vessels toward Italy. By mid-October, the number of migrants arriving by boat has nearly doubled to 140,000 compared to the same period a year ago.

Von der Leyen stood by Meloni’s side in solidarity on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, after some 7,000 migrants had stepped ashore there in just over one day last month. She borrowed one of Meloni’s favorite lines: “ We will decide who comes to the European Union, and under what circumstances. Not the smugglers.”

Tunisian and not Libyan shores are now the main launching site for smugglers’ boats. Meloni had lobbied heavily for an EU arrangement with Tunisia that offered the economically struggling country aid in hopes of encouraging a crackdown on the departures, but the agreement is in danger of unraveling.

Meloni, meanwhile, is feeling the heat from her ally-cum-rival Salvini, who appears determined to prove he's more “far right” of her, notably on migration, ahead of European Parliament elections set for June 2024, when the issue is expected to loom large.

As interior minister in a 2018-2019 populist government, Salvini kept rescue boats in the Mediterranean waiting days, even weeks, for permission to enter port to disembark migrants.

“With Salvini as (interior) minister, all this wasn't happening,″ said the regional affairs minister, Roberto Calderoli, sniping at Meloni after she appointed Salvini her transport minister, not interior minister as he had hoped.

Meloni criticized Italian judges who have defied a recent Cabinet decree that allows migrants who lost asylum bids and who come from so-called “safe” countries — like Tunisia — to be put in holding centers for as long as 18 months, pending repatriation. To avoid that, the migrants can pay a deposit of nearly 5,000 euros ($5,500) — a sum most can’t afford. Concluding those restrictions violate the Italian Constitution, some judges let the migrants go free.

Meloni contends the rulings support a long-held belief on the political right that Italy’s magistrates sympathize with the left.

The premier has had other setbacks. A Cabinet decree targeted banks with a tax on so-called “extra-profits” derived from higher interest rates on mortgages and business loans. But Deputy Premier Antonio Tajani objected, forcing the decree to be rewritten. Tajani holds the helm of Berlusconi's party, and the media mogul's family holds a large stake in an Italian bank.

When Meloni’s government sought to solve a shortage of Italy’s taxis — acutely felt during a boom in foreign tourists — by liberalizing issuance of new cab licenses, taxi drivers staged a nationwide 24-hour strike.

“I see, not a catastrophe, but very bad governance,″ Grossi said in a phone interview from Brussels to evaluate the premier's first year.

Her other goals include the protection of Italy's "traditional families;” Meloni campaigned with thundering cries against “gender ideology.” Making its way through Parliament, and modeled on a bill Meloni introduced while an opposition lawmaker, is a proposal to make it a crime for Italians to use surrogate maternity abroad.

Despite Brothers of Italy’s roots in a party formed by nostalgists for fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, Meloni has insisted that she doesn’t hold the “cult of fascism.”

After the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel, she went to Rome's main synagogue and pledged to defend Jewish citizens against “every form of antisemitism.” Jews number fewer than 30,000 in Italy, a nation of some 57 million people.

The head of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Noemi Di Segni, said she’d like Meloni to be clearer about the harm Mussolini caused Jews. “For her it should be easy,″ Di Segni said in an interview . ”It’s the past.”

There are signs Meloni's perspective on history is evolving. On Monday, the 80th anniversary of the roundup of Jews in Nazi-occupied Rome, Meloni issued a statement decrying the “fascist complicity” in sending 1,259 people from the city — nearly all would perish — to Nazi-run death camps.

Since becoming premier, Meloni has topped surveys of eligible voters, hovering near 30% — compared to the 26% of votes her party garnered in the 2022 election.

“The lack of a progressive, strongly pro-European alternative is definitely missing in Italy, and that also, of course, helps Meloni feel more stable,” said Grossi.

For her second year, Meloni pledges to work for a constitutional reform to make the premiership directly chosen by voters, in hopes of producing more stable governments. Currently, Italy's president asks someone likely able to command a parliamentary majority the task of forming a government.

Since 1946, Italy's governments have lasted an average of 361 days.

Associated Press writer Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.
回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:https://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=2976&aid=7215233