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Who is Giorgia Meloni? Italy’s New Far-Right PM and her Stance on Migration.

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Giorgia Meloni is the figurehead of a newly elected extreme right-wing government that is vowing to crack down on many forms of immigration (Balmer, 2022). Some have highlighted how her party is rooted in neo-Fascism, with Meloni praising Mussolini as a young woman (Rizzo, 2022). The party has almost identical values to those during Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini’s regime, such as ‘God, Homeland and Family’ (Rizzo, 2022).

The leader of Fratelli d’Italia has made some concerning promises during her election campaign that aim at tightening ‘Italy’s borders’ (Pullella, 2022). Her strong anti-immigration position has been at the centre of her manifesto and political campaign (Rizzo, 2022). She has promised to enforce accelerated repatriations and tighter asylum rules, specifically for a naval blockade to North African migrants (Pullella, 2022). Meloni has Matteo Salvini as a political ally, an individual who heads the rightist League, who in 2018-19 introduced a variety of anti-immigration measures (Balmer, 2022).

During 2014-2016, 181,000 migrants were reported to reach Italy by boat (Balmer, 2022), and the issue of immigrants arriving to Italy has dominated the political sphere for several years. It is key to highlight how sub-optimal and dangerous conditions have been reported from the detention centres in Lampedusa where the majority of migrants are held, raising concerns about the abuses individuals face. Interestingly, Italy has taken in over 170,000 Ukrainian refugees since February, which is more than any number of boat migrants arriving to Italy in the past three years, with Meloni calling them ‘real refugees’ (Balmer, 2022). The disparity between what Meloni considers real and true vs what she considers illegal migration is deeply concerning. If one does not fit the ideal identikit of a refugee or asylum seeker, then under Meloni’s governance, migrants from outside of Europe are sure to face challenging, precarious and dangerous futures.

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