The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

Giorgia Meloni shouldn’t be normalised

By David Broder

02 May 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

There are well-founded reasons to call Italy's prime minister and her Fratelli d’Italia party “far right,” argues David Broder in The New Statesman; efforts to depict her as moderate are misguided.

On 27 April, as Italy’s prime minister Giorgia Meloni visited London, it was reported that Rishi Sunak sought Rome’s endorsement of his government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. A joint memo only briefly cited “tackling illegal migration”. Yet Meloni suggested to reporters after her meeting at No 10 that she did back the measure – only that she “didn’t see it as deportation”. For Meloni, “dealing with illegal immigration, you aren't deporting anyone… If [people aren’t] entitled to protection they have to go home.”

This was an odd redefinition of the verb “deport” – and for most asylum seekers, being sent to Rwanda surely isn’t going “home”. Still, as Meloni posted a video of her chummy embrace with Sunak, this wasn’t the only redefinition going on. Before Italy’s September general election, Meloni called her Fratelli d’Italia party a conservative force that shares “values” with the Tories, Israel’s Likud and US Republicans. It seems clear that these parties are increasingly alike – but is this because she’s a moderate, or because these parties are opening up their mainstream to include her?

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