Meloni inaugurates her mandate with an informal meeting in Rome with Macron | International
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The new Italian prime minister, the far-right Giorgia Meloni, has officially taken the reins of the country this Sunday. The head of the Brothers of Italy formalized the transfer of powers with her predecessor, Mario Draghi, in a ceremony at the Government headquarters, receiving from her hands the small bell with which the prime ministers signal the start of the meetings of their Executive.
On his first day at the head of the Italian Government, Meloni has already directed his first Council of Ministers. In addition, he has inaugurated his position with an informal meeting late on Sunday afternoon with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. Macron — who is in Rome to participate in the interreligious meeting The cry of peaceorganized by the Catholic movement Community of Sant’Egidio – will also meet this Monday with Pope Francis.
At the end of the meeting, which took place in a hotel in the Italian capital and lasted around an hour, the French president highlighted the importance of the rapprochement between the two leaders in statements to the Agi news agency. “Relations between Italy and France are more important than people. We have preferred that this meeting be informal, but it is important,” said Macron, who alluded to the European Union and the treatment between the two countries.
Macron also posted a tweet with a photograph of both talking on the hotel terrace in which he reaffirms his willingness to collaborate with the new Government of Rome. “As Europeans, from neighboring countries, as friendly peoples, with Italy we must continue all the work started. To do it together, with dialogue and ambition, we owe it to our youth and our peoples. Our first meeting in Rome goes in this direction”, the Frenchman wrote.
The Italian Government said in a statement that the conversation between Meloni and Macron was “cordial and fruitful” and explained that both leaders addressed the main issues that affect Europe today, such as rising energy prices, support for Ukraine, the “difficult economic situation” or the management of migratory flows. Both presidents “agreed on the desire to continue working together on the great common challenges at European level and respecting mutual national interests,” according to the note.
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This is Meloni’s first face-to-face meeting with a foreign head of state. In principle, the informal greeting, aside from the initial agenda of the French president, was expected on Monday, but it was brought forward to Sunday. Although this meeting has no official status, the team of the leader of the Brothers of Italy is already working on a first formal meeting with the French president. There are many pending issues on the table between Rome and Paris, such as the reform of the Stability Pact that the European Commission will present at the beginning of November.
The Italian Prime Minister also wanted to reassure Macron about Italy’s Atlanticist position, as she has already done in telephone conversations with the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
The 45-year-old Roman politician, the youngest in the Government, is the first woman to receive the command bell. Following tradition, she rang it with a smile. Although the new team formally assumed its responsibilities with the oath of office on Saturday, the ringing of the bell, a moment of great symbolism for Italy, is considered to officially begin the Meloni era. Thus begins the Government formed by the three parties of the right-wing coalition that won the elections on September 25: Brothers of Italy, Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.
Meloni shook hands with Draghi, who received her at the Chigi Palace, seat of the Presidency of the Government, with a warm smile and a “welcome”. Both exchanged samples of cordiality. Before the ceremony, the incoming prime minister and the outgoing prime minister held a closed-door meeting.
A quick and orderly transition
Although the content of the conversations has not transpired, the meeting between the two lasted almost an hour and a half and was longer than usual in changes of government. Draghi has governed Italy for a little over a year and a half, with the support of a coalition of national unity in which all the parties participated, except, precisely, Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, who during this time has ridden alone the discontent of the opposition.
Draghi has opted for an orderly and rapid transition due to the energy crisis that the country is going through and the need for the new Executive to be fully operational as soon as possible. “I do not give advice to the new government, the only thing I can do is leave facts,” the former prime minister launched a few days ago.
On her first day as prime minister, Meloni presided over the meeting of the Council of Ministers, where she called for “unity” from her entire cabinet. “She has urged us not to forget that, in addition to an honor, we have a great responsibility, and she has asked us for loyalty and team spirit”, revealed the Minister of Public Administration, Paolo Zangrillo.
One of the first tasks of the Council of Ministers was to approve the appointment of the undersecretary of the presidency, one of the most influential positions in the Executive, who will be the conservative Alfredo Mantovano.
The names of the ministries still have to be changed, since Meloni has incorporated some unpublished ones, such as “Education and Merit”, “Family, Fertility and Equal Opportunities”, “Companies and Made in Italy” or “Agriculture and Food Sovereignty”.
The next step for the new government will be the investiture in the Senate and in the Chamber of Deputies, the two seats of Parliament. Although it will be a mere formality, since the right-wing coalition has an absolute majority in both chambers.
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