Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, Hosting Group of Seven Summit, Emerges as the Strongest Leader in the West

Signora Meloni’s geopolitical bonding with Ursula von der Leyen over migration and other issues, too, makes the Italian premier a kingmaker as the EU Commission president seeks a second term.

AP/Andrew Medichini
Prime Minister Meloni at the G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, June 15, 2024. AP/Andrew Medichini

What a remarkable moment is Prime Minister Meloni’s emergence, at the G-7 Summit in Puglia, Italy, as the strongest leader of the most stable nation in the West. After her Fratelli d’Italia party garnered nearly 29 percent of the vote in the European parliamentary elections, Signora Meloni — who led this year’s gathering — was in the best political position of her peers.

Though President Biden may be re-elected in November, he faces a challenge from President Trump. Uncle Joe is running neck and neck with his GOP rival in the key battleground states that will determine the outcome of the election. Yet 46’s cognitive decline is evident. Additionally, despite positive macroeconomic data, American voters are in a lather over high interest rates and continuing inflation.

Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, confronts a surly British electorate in the upcoming July contest, which he appears likely to lose in a potentially historic landslide. As for the odd couple of the G-7 — President Macron and Chancellor Scholz — the results of the European parliamentary elections were grim. In the wake of the right’s triumph at the polls, Monsieur Macron dissolved France’s National Assembly and called for new elections. 

Herr Scholz’s Social Democrats, meantime, came in third, trailing the Christian Democrats and the rightist Alternative for Germany, which swept the former East Germany. Herr Scholz might not survive the next general election. Japan’s Fumio Kishida, who is mired in a campaign-finance imbroglio, heads an administration with a minuscule public approval rating. No one is more unpopular than Justin Trudeau, whose handling of Canada’s economy has been an abysmal failure.

However, Signora Meloni has confounded conventional wisdom and become the lioness of the Continent. Having boasted that “I’m proud that this nation will present itself at the G-7 and in Europe with the strongest government of all,” she is presiding over a stable Italy that’s assuming its rightful place on the world stage.

Her fiscal discipline aims to put Lo Stivale’s financial house in order while she unleashes the animal spirits of entrepreneurship. This is paying significant economic dividends. Rome has surpassed Berlin and Paris when it comes to GDP growth.

Even the Times acknowledges the Italian prime minister’s preeminence. It quotes a political scientist at the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, Roberto D’Alimonte, as saying that “all the lights are on her.” Her geopolitical bonding with Ursula von der Leyen over migration and other issues makes Ms. Meloni the kingmaker as the EU Commission president seeks a second term.

“Meloni is going to be a major player in Europe,” noted the managing director for Europe at the Eurasia Group consultancy, Mujtaba Rahman. “As Meloni leans into the center and is constructive, she is going to take lots of rewards.”

Despite Giorgia’s pioneering Mattei Plan, a kind of 21st-century Marshall Plan for Africa — and her support for Zelensky’s Ukraine — the prime minister is still pilloried on a regular basis. “She has quite cleverly positioned herself as the respectable radical right, and as someone that Europe and the U.S. can do business with,” said a political scientist at the U.K.’s Surrey University, Daniele Albertazzi.

Such veiled broadsides dismiss Signora Meloni’s efforts at outreach and allied solidarity as slick neo-fascist chicanery, enabling the likes of Emmanuel Macron’s disruptive behavior.

Following his party’s thumping in Europe’s parliamentary elections, the emasculated French president attempted to upend Signora Meloni’s agenda at Borgo Egnazia in Puglia by hectoring her over abortion and LGBTQ issues. Though the ploy failed, it exposed Mr. Macron’s political desperation.

As the summit wound down, the Wall Street Journal in an editorial noted that while “once upon a time the G-7 included the likes of Reagan, Thatcher, Kohl, Nakasone, Mulroney, Mitterrand, and whoever was the Italian Prime Minister that year.” Now, the Journal added, Signora Meloni stands as “a relative giant amid the current political dwarfs.”

At the conclusion of the Puglia summit, this new political giant declared that of all the G-7 powers, Italy is the chief advocate for meaningful political  and economic change not only in Europe, but across the globe.

Signora Meloni will win the day — because she shares the Gipper’s sentiment about tomorrow: “The future doesn’t belong to the light-hearted. It belongs to the brave.”


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