Meloni defends policy plans ahead of 2nd confidence vote

Italy’s new Premier Giorgia Meloni has defended her policy aims ahead of a second and final confidence vote in Parliament before the new government led by her far-right party can get down to business

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 26 October 2022 18:54 BST

Italy’s new Premier Giorgia Meloni defended her policy aims Wednesday ahead of a second and final confidence vote in Parliament before the new government led by her far-right party can get down to business.

During a wide-ranging reply to parliamentary questions that lasted about an hour, Meloni rejected criticism by the opposition that her support for Ukraine failed to make any reference to peace, and that her economic policies would encourage tax evasion and endanger substantial EU pandemic recovery funds.

On the economic front, Meloni said she would go ahead with plans to lift limits on cash transactions that previous governments have enacted as a measure to fight tax evasion, but which Meloni said were ineffective. And she said reallocating some of the EU pandemic recovery funds was necessary because projects were decided before the war in Ukraine drove up energy and raw materials costs.

Meloni easily won the first of two confidence votes in the lower house on Tuesday, and faces a second vote in the Senate, where she also holds a solid majority. The votes are required by the Italian constitution for new governments.

Meloni was sworn in Saturday as Italy’s first female premier after her far-right Brothers of Italy party won the most votes in a parliamentary election last month with 26% of the vote. She governs along with anti-migrant League leader Matteo Salvini and conservative former Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Meloni also responded to critics who said her speech to both houses of Parliament did not include the word peace.

“If someone things that this means that I enjoy war, no. But we need to understand how one arrives at peace. ... You don’t make peace waving a rainbow flag at a demonstration. It is difficult to achieve peace that way,’’ Meloni told lawmakers in the Senate.

She repeated her resolve to support Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression, likening it to her support of the principal of legitimate defense against home intruders. And she said that supporting Ukraine was also critical to Italy’s legitimacy on the international stage.

“Do you think that Italy’s position will determine the outcome of the war?” Meloni asked, noting that Britain is supplying more arms than all the EU combined. “What would change is not the outcome of the war in Ukraine, what would change is the approach others have toward us, what would change is our credibility, on the level of defense, of national interests and commerce.”

Meloni closed with an appeal to the opposition not to hinder her government for reasons of ideology but to vote based on the content of the policies.

“Don’t hold back on criticism, I don’t expect that, it would be wrong. I believe in the merit of the opposition, but what I ask is that we speak on the merits, not create ideological debates,'' Meloni said.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in