Italy’s new PM Meloni addresses parliament for first time with defiant speech

Rome, Oct 25 (EFE).- Italy’s new prime minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday said her government did not want to sabotage the European Union “but make it more effective,” during her first parliamentary address ahead of the investiture of her right-wing coalition government.

The 45 year-old, who was sworn into office on Saturday, acknowledged there was a sense of “curiosity” over the stance her government would have towards the bloc which she accused of “not always being prepared.”

The leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party — who swept to victory in September elections alongside Matteo Salvini’s anti-migrant Lega Nord party and former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italy — told the lower house that her objective is “not to slow down or sabotage European integration” and added that her government would respect “the rules currently in force” in budgetary matters.

“Italy is part of the West, the cradle of freedom and democracy,” Italy’s first female premier added.

Meloni reiterated Italy’s loyalty to NATO and championed the “courageous Ukrainian people,” saying her government would continue to help Kyiv “defend itself from the aggression of the Russian Federation.”

Ukraine’s freedom “can’t be bartered with our own,” Meloni continued. “Giving in to the blackmail of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will not solve the problem.”

The PM told lawmakers she felt “the weight of being Italy’s first female premier,” and thanked all the women who had fought to assert their talent and took a moment to remember all the women who had “built that ladder that today allows me to break this heavy glass ceiling.”

Turning her attention to the global energy crisis, Meloni said energy burdens should be shared in a “more balanced” way on an international level and said her government would roll out subsidies for families and businesses to help with growing bills.

In a speech that lasted over an hour, and which was interrupted several times by applause, Meloni reiterated her intention to comply with the European Commission on the necessary adjustments for the EU-funded National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which she described as a “great opportunity which we must exploit.”

The nationalist leader also confirmed her intention to reform the constitution and to introduce a semi-presidential system whereby the president would be elected by citizens.

“We will give Rome the powers and resources worthy of a capital,” she continued. “We will press on with differentiated autonomy; I will not give up on reforms due to prejudicial opposition.”EFE


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