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Meloni’s Choice

The adoption of an anti-EU stance by Italy's government would threaten the future of the European project by undercutting efforts to advance the institutional reforms that are needed to support further integration. And such integration is essential to enable Europe to confront the biggest challenges facing its citizens.

LONDON – The rise of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her Fratelli d’Italia (“Brothers of Italy”), a party with roots in Mussolini’s Fascist movement, has raised more than a few concerns. For markets and Italy’s international partners, particularly in Europe, the primary worry seems to be that weak public finances and growing political instability will result in a new fiscal crisis. But the far bigger danger is a potential rupture in Italy’s longstanding tradition of support for European integration.

While Meloni views herself as America’s most faithful friend in Europe, her European policy is less clear. We know that she strongly opposes the pursuit of “ever-closer union” that the Italian establishment has long backed, instead supporting a minimalist design for the European Union, based on loose coordination of national policies.

For now, Meloni will most likely exercise caution in challenging European integration. She knows that the EU’s future is far from certain, and that Italy will be dependent on its economic support for the foreseeable future.