Giorgia Meloni, leader of far-right party Brothers of Italy (Fdl) and most likely Italy’s next PM, vowed to put Italy’s national interests first in tackling soaring energy costs. However, she says it shouldn’t be seen as nationalistic or populist.
Giorgia Meloni vowed today to put Italy’s national interests first in tackling soaring energy costs. She addressed farmers and producers at an agricultural fair in Milan sponsored by Coldiretti.
This came after Germany announced it would spend up to €200 billion helping consumers and businesses cope with surging energy prices, while refusing to back a European price cap on gas. It is this latter approach that Italy and other countries have sought.
Meloni said if her government takes a similar action, it shouldn’t be seen as some populist, nationalist reaction but rather a “lucid” strategy to “defend national interests to arrive at common solutions.”
“Italy’s posture must return to start off with the defense of its national interests to find common solutions,” Meloni told the gathered farmers.
“That is something that will change in the coming months. It doesn’t mean having a negative stance toward others, it means having a positive one for ourselves that starts off from the defense of national interests, because everyone else is doing it,” she said.
Meloni also told the farmers a key priority was to protect the “Made in Italy” agricultural brand. As well as promoting exports, it would also help reduce dependence on imports. Furthermore, Meloni signed the world petition to stop the production of synthetic food for the table.
Russia cuts gas supply to ENI
Her speech came as Italian energy giant ENI reported Russia’s Gazprom said it could not confirm any gas deliveries on Saturday via Austria.
Since starting the war in Ukraine in February, Russia has cut back supplies of natural gas sent to Europe to heat homes, generate electricity and run factories.
Meloni, who has strongly reaffirmed her support for Ukraine in the war, vowed to protect Italian industry and agriculture from the effects of rising energy prices. The soaring costs are partly due to the conflict, as well as a record heatwave this summer that destroyed billions in crops.
Italy has spent €60 billion since last year to ease the pain of higher energy prices for households and industry. However, Coldiretti has said the aid to farmers has been mostly in the form of tax credits and not help with electricity bills, which have gone up 500% since last year, or fertiliser costs which are up 170%.