Italy’s Meloni Rides the Storm in Italy’s North, Stressing Market-based Approaches to the Epic Flooding

Some 36,000 are left homeless as six months of rain falls in 36 hours.

Stefan Rousseau - pool/Getty Images
Prime Ministers Meloni and Sunak at the G7 Summit on May 19, 2023 at Hiroshima. Stefan Rousseau - pool/Getty Images

When it comes to nation-states, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. And then there’s Giorgia Meloni’s Italy.

Following a successful G-7 summit at Hiroshima, wherein the Italian prime minister reaffirmed her commitment to Ukraine and solidified Italy’s deepening military, strategic and diplomatic ties with Japan, Mrs. Meloni departed the conference early.

The northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna was caught in the throes of the worst alluvial disaster in a century. The equivalent of six months of rain fell in just 36 hours, triggering flooding that took 14 lives.

More than 36,000 residents were rendered homeless. Historic Ravenna, Forli and Faenza were particularly hard hit. This disaster was made worse due to the preceding drought that had dried out and hardened the land, lessening the terrain’s water absorption capacity.

“Many roads have completely disappeared,” said the president of the geologists’ order for Emilia-Romagna, Paride Antolini. “In my 63 years I have never seen anything like it, it’s too much even for a geologist.”

This upheaval was simply Dantesque: Per me si va ne la citta’ dolente . . . “Through me you enter into the city of woes . . . ” Wading into the muddy waters of the town of Faenza, though, Prime Minister Meloni vowed to turn the tide.

Within days, Ms. Meloni’s government issued a decree that, in the premier’s words, “provides for an allocation of over two billion euros for people affected by the floods,” from farmers to schools, health care services and the tourism industry.”

Relief, repair, reconstruction and revitalization will follow, and there will be much talk about the role of global warming in these woes. However, the far left will find it difficult to exploit this issue.

In 2022, Signora Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia — and other center-right parties — signed a declaration that outlines her market-based method to ecological renewal.  

While noting the need to “collectively do much more to combat the threat of climate change,” the parties contend “We will not achieve these aims by harming the economy or through an exclusively state-led approach.”

The declaration instead stresses the “need to harness the expertise and creativity of businesses and entrepreneurs.” 

Such an approach is key for Signora Meloni. Italy has walked a fine line vis-à-vis Moody’s Investors Service, which didn’t issue a new assessment regarding the Magic Boot. That is, the European Union’s third-largest economy will not lose its investment-grade status. That’s good news for Italy’s international financial profile.

Though Giuseppe Conte and Elly Schlein may complain, the Prime Minister’s realistic budget — one that encompasses significant debt and deficit reduction, along with a pragmatic fiscal policy — restored confidence in the Italian economy.

Yet the brickbats and ad hominem attacks keep coming — from the strangest of quarters. The former House speaker, Tip O’Neill, once said that “All politics is local.” But recent events on the world stage might require a revision of that adage.

At a time when the West is being challenged by crises both seen and unforeseen, the puerility of politics has once again reared its ugliest head.

President Macron has sought to mend fences with Rome after his Interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, attacked Ms. Meloni over migration policies. Mr. Macron said that “Italy cannot be left alone in the face of pressure from migratory flows.”

But Mr. Darmanin continues to slander the Italian leader, claiming that he has “the right to say” that Signora Meloni and Marine Le Pen fail to represent “a good model.”

And in a bid for last-minute relevance, Prime Minister Trudeau needled Ms. Meloni over her LGBTQ policies.

To her credit, Ms. Meloni chose not to go all porcine and sling mud at either Monsieur Darmanin or Mr. Trudeau.

Indeed, the leaders of the Atlantic Alliance, NATO and the G-7 should consider themselves fortunate that Ms. Meloni is a forward-looking politico who places pragmatism over ideology.

Certainly,  the likes of President Zelensky, Prime Minister Sunak, and Prime Minister Kishida are thankful for Ms. Meloni’s steadfastness, solidarity and unwavering support.

One wonders if Uncle Joe Biden agrees with this trio.

The New York Sun

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