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Georgia Meloni - The most dangerous woman in Europe?

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

On 25 September, the centre-right won the parliamentary elections in Italy. Consequently, in less than a month, Giorgia Meloni - leader of Fratelli di Italia (FDI), the party that took the majority of votes in the coalition - will most likely become Prime Minister of the country. She would be the first woman to be prime minister in Italy, but hers would be Italy's first extreme right-wing government since Mussolini's death.⁣

We are speaking about "the most dangerous woman in Europe," as the German weekly Stern defined her. According to The Atlantic, two of the words that Meloni has pronounced most often in her life as a leader are 'ethnic substitution,' referring to the Italian identity in danger of being erased through 'mass immigration,' another critical concept of her propaganda. In her first speech after the victory, she underlined that "the great objective we have set ourselves as a political force is to make Italians proud to be Italians again, to wave the tricolour flag." When it comes to immigration, therefore, it is not surprising that for years one of the most pressing needs her has been to favour immigration closer to 'our culture. She made it explicit, for example, in a 2018 speech in which she unashamedly stated that "In Venezuela there are millions of people who are literally starving. They are Christians, they are often of Italian origin. I say do we need immigrants? Let's take them to Venezuela".⁣

⁣During the recently concluded election campaign, the leader of FDI again emphasised the need to distinguish between refugees and 'illegal immigrants, describing the situation as 'unsustainable for Italy and for the whole of Europe' and proposing, once again, the naval blockade in agreement with the North African states, "to stop human trafficking together with them and to set up spots on their territories where those entitled to international protection can be distinguished from those who are not." Implementing a naval blockade, however, basically means deploying Italian naval vessels to protect ports, with the order to fire on vessels that are not allowed to enter Italian waters.⁣

Moreover, about the agreements with North African states, including Libya, there are no proposals for truly viable solutions nor references to the criteria and modalities under which such agreements should be implemented. Therefore, it would seem that the only important thing - when deciding to send economic and military support to a Third State - is to obstruct the entry of migrants and refugees in any way without taking into any consideration the respect of migrants' fundamental rights (such as the right to asylum, the protection of minors or the prohibition of torture) or the more or less democratic nature of that State's system.⁣

Meloni is not the only one thinking this way, as various measures and decisions taken by Italy in recent years demonstrate. However, alarmist tones and propaganda based on misinformation and deep-rooted prejudices are a prerogative of the right, hence also of her party, whose programme envisages legal ways of entering Italy only for seasonal workers and only 'for nationalities that have demonstrated integration and do not create security problems. As if integration into a new country and society was such a simple, one-dimensional issue, totally up to the person arriving and, above all, as if it could be assessed and predicted a priori, based only on the migrants' country of origin.⁣

The key concepts underpinning the strategy to manage (im)migration of the one who will most likely be Italy's Prime Minister soon, therefore, seem to be alarmism, stigmatisation, unfounded generalisations, and, of course, indifference about respect for the fundamental rights of migrants, which Italy - in the name of its Constitution and the international conventions it has signed - would be obliged to respect and guarantee.⁣

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