Italy: first assessment for Giorgia Meloni after 100 days in power

PAs a question for Giorgia Meloni to leave in the hands of journalists alone the exercise of the “assessment” of her first 100 days in office. It is therefore in front of a duo of Italian and European banners that the Prime Minister, solemn, appeared yesterday on video on social networks, for 7 minutes of self-assessment. Just enough time to quote a handful of the “100 actions in 100 days” initiated by its executive, says Giorgia Meloni. Diplomacy, energy, families, employment, security, retirement, recovery plan: the government is on all fronts, she assures, “satisfied”. Admittedly, “we can always do more”, recognizes the tenant of Palazzo Chigi, but to promise that not a day passes “without us having at least tried to give an answer. Always on the side of Italy”.

A return of the right to the controls logically placed under the sign of “order” and the “fight against illegality”, moreover crowned somewhat fortuitously by the arrest of the last big boss of Cosa Nostra, after thirty years on the run. In November, the very first decree-law of the Meloni era attacks the organizers of rave parties (the text, accused of liberticidal excesses, will be modified). Then comes the turn of rescue NGOs at sea to be in Rome’s sights and to see their assistance activities drastically affected. But for the time being, we are still a long way from the naval blockade promised to voters by the candidate of the Brothers of Italy during her electoral campaign.

Softening of his image

Muscular first weeks, yes, but nothing revolutionary, note however the Italian observers. On the contrary. “These hundred days have above all been a hundred times the opportunity for Giorgia Meloni to try to dispel fears about this new Italian right,” said Lorenzo Castellani, professor at the Luiss University in Rome. A right wishing to show that it “can govern in Italy without exposing the country to too many political and economic risks”, continues the political scientist. The President of the Italian Council did not fail to point out the good shape of the Milan Stock Exchange and the reduction, within “its 100 days”, of the spread (the difference between the values ​​of German and Italian bonds), an eternal barometer of the economic health of the Peninsula.

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As a good VRP of Italy, Giorgia Meloni multiplied international trips to the G20 in Bali, to the COP27 in Egypt or very recently in Algeria and in Libya to discuss security and energy contracts. The debut on the continental scene of the “most dangerous woman in Europe” (thus said the magazine Stern) opened up to a violent spat between Rome and Paris over the fate of the ship Ocean Viking. “But after this mistake, the Italian government refocused and then sought to avoid taking positions that contradicted the EU,” recalls Piero Ignazi, professor at the University of Bologna. Giorgia Meloni notably reaffirmed the sending of arms to Ukraine – despite the growing opposition of public opinion – and Italy’s attachment to the Atlanticist camp. And it is in Brussels that the leader of the executive has booked her very first trip abroad. An EU capital where Giorgia Meloni hopes to be heard the voice of Italy, particularly on the migration issue.

Abandonment of sovereignist positions

At the time of completing its finance law, at the end of 2022, there again no reversal of the table, recalls Lorenzo Castellani. “Meloni wanted to bet more on continuity with Mario Draghi”, pledge appreciated within the institutions of the 27, points out the political scientist. Apart from a few hiccups, the Italian budget copy has been validated by Brussels. In the writing of Manifesto, we feign amazement: “Who would have imagined, just a year ago, Sister Giorgia transformed into a vestal of rigor, priority to public accounts, even austerity? asks the left-wing daily. Not so surprising, believes for his part Piero Ignazi, of the University of Bologna. Coming to power, Meloni experienced “a bath of realism”, resulting in a “substantial abandonment of the sovereignist positions” which brought her to power. To be seen, however, warns Piero Ignazi, if it is “a significant change of position” or a “tactical maneuver to avoid international isolation”.

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The President of the Council knows it, between the imperatives of reform and the objectives of the European recovery plan to be met: 2023 is not going to be without some challenges. To which should be added the inevitable upheavals within his government majority (from Silvio Berlusconi on questions of justice to Matteo Salvini’s League on the theme of the differentiated autonomy of the regions).

But for now, the Meloni method seems to be paying off. Four months after the legislative elections, his Italian Brothers continue to top the polls, even beyond their scores of last September. The institutes note, however, a slight inflection in recent days, the fault of certain government hiccups (such as the decision not to extend a discount on fuel at the start of the year). Nothing to worry about for the moment the muse of the Italian right who should see her good electoral form confirmed in a double regional ballot in Milan and Rome in February. Facing her, the parliamentary opposition is sluggish, weakened by wars of leadership. For Giorgia Meloni, the honeymoon may not be over.

Italy: first assessment for Giorgia Meloni after 100 days in power