White House Worried Italy’s Giorgia Meloni May Weaken Joe Biden’s European Coalition

ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 26: Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) speaks at a press conference at the party electoral headquarters overnight, on September 26, 2022 in Rome, Italy. The snap election was triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi in July, following the …
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, Antonio Masiello/Getty Images, ILYA PITALEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisers are concerned that a victory by Italian leader Giorgia Meloni could weaken the united European coalition pushing back against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meloni represents a populist-nationalist shift in power after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi sought to align Italy with the European Union and teamed up with the G7 nations to push back against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Politico’s Jonathan Lemire reports that Biden aides are worried that Meloni could turn Italy inward as Europe faces a difficult winter with high energy prices, the result of the West trying to punish Putin for invading Ukraine.

Meloni has voiced her support for Ukraine and criticized Russia’s invasion, but analysts fret that the more populist-nationalist coalition in Italy will pivot away from their support of sanctions on Russia.

Giorgia Meloni, a rising star in conservative Europe, appeared at CPAC in 2022 and condemned Russia for invading Ukraine

“We are on the side of international law, we are on the side of freedom, and indeed we are on the side of a proud nation that is teaching the world what it means to fight for freedom,” she said.

Meloni also took a shot at Biden during her speech, noting that the disastrous exit from Afghanistan only encouraged Russia to invade Ukraine.

“Without the outrageous withdrawal of troops from Kabul yesterday, we would have never seen the tragic siege of Kiev today, and certainly no one would be preparing to see Taiwan occupied tomorrow,” she said.

Foreign policy analysts for the Atlantic Council expressed concern that Meloni’s brand of politics signals a policy shift to more conservative-national policies like Poland and Hungary, which is also more hostile to the European Union’s goals.

In the meantime, Biden is working to coalesce as much support as he can in Europe. The president announced Monday that he would host French President Emmanuel Macron for a White House state dinner in December.

Macron, who faced his own populist-nationalist challenge from Marine Le Pen, is one of few remaining center-leftist leaders who are working with Biden to strengthen the European Union and defend Ukraine.


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