Meloni Takes Center Stage as G-7 Leaders Gather Amid Global Crises

June 13, 2024 by No Comments

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni welcomed President Biden and other world leaders to the opening session of the G-7 summit in Italy on Thursday. The summit takes place against the backdrop of multiple global conflicts.

The G-7, hosted in Italy’s southern Puglia region, brings together the leaders of Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S., along with the European Union (EU).

The summit follows Meloni’s recent electoral victory, where her Brothers of Italy Party secured a resounding win. This victory is seen as a major boost for Meloni both domestically and internationally.

“Meloni arrived on the international scene timidly in 2022, aware of the skepticism in European capitals. But now, after this victory, she feels Italy can play a stronger role,” Stefano Vaccara, founder of the digital daily La Voce di New York, told Digital.

“Meloni envisions a leading role for Italy in Europe. She believes Italy should have significant influence over the EU and relies on its special relationship with the U.S.,” he added.

Vaccara notes that Italy aims to bridge the gap between U.S. interests and those of Europeans, who are divided between the far-right and the center-right.

Meloni’s success contrasts with the performance of her European counterparts, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who faced electoral setbacks. Scholz and his Social Democrats suffered a significant defeat, finishing third behind the center-right Christian Democrats and the far-right Alternative for Germany Party. Macron dissolved parliament after his party was weakened by the strong showing of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally.

“The results clearly indicate a rightward shift in European politics, not just in terms of populism or extremism, but also the center-right has emerged stronger,” Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, told Digital.

“It’s a reaction against the left in Europe,” he added.

Italy’s first female prime minister is now positioned to influence Europe, having cultivated close ties with the leader of the center-right European People’s Party, Ursula von der Leyen. Meloni intends to use her electoral mandate to shape the G-7’s key agenda items. Since taking office in 2022, Meloni’s government has established itself as a close American ally and has collaborated effectively with both von der Leyen and President Biden. 

“Under Meloni’s government, Italy has been an extremely valuable U.S. partner,” Andrew Novo, non-resident senior fellow with the Center for European Analysis, told Digital.

“It has been the European Union’s leading voice in support of Ukraine. It withdrew Italy from China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Relations between Italy and the United States are strong and that trend looks set to continue,” Novo added.

European and Western elites initially harbored reservations about Meloni before her election due to her past sympathy for Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since becoming prime minister, Meloni has effectively reassured skeptical foreign policy establishments that she is a trustworthy and largely centrist partner willing to work with Brussels and act as a solid U.S. ally against Russia and in support of Ukraine.

The G-7 summit will address a wide range of international issues including climate change, Africa and development. The summit will then place a strong emphasis on in Gaza and Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine.

“In this transitional moment for the EU, Meloni will play a crucial role in rallying countries to support Ukraine. Meloni’s success was Putin’s nightmare, and the Kremlin launched its propaganda campaign to undermine her for her unwavering support for Ukraine,” Ivana Stradner, research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told Digital.

Regarding Ukraine, President Biden aims to provide Kyiv with an additional $50 billion in aid from frozen Russian assets. This latest round of aid comes at a critical time for as they face an offensive around the Kharkiv region. Meloni is in full agreement with President Biden in her steadfast support for Ukraine.

Regarding Israel, Meloni has generally been supportive of Israel in its war against Hamas but recently opposed Israel’s incursion into Rafah. 

released by the White House, and signed on by Meloni and the G-7 leaders, noted “We, the Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), fully endorse and will stand behind the comprehensive deal outlined by President Biden that would lead to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages, a significant and sustained increase in humanitarian assistance for distribution throughout Gaza, and an enduring end to the crisis, with Israel’s security interests and Gazan civilian safety assured. We reaffirm our support for a credible pathway towards peace leading to a two state solution.”

The summit concludes on June 15.