Italy’s Meloni furious after France vows to monitor rule of law

EuroActiv Politico News

ROME — Italy’s prime minister-in-waiting Giorgia Meloni reacted with fury after French European Affairs Minister Laurence Boone said that after Italy’s new government takes power, France will monitor the rule of law in Italy.

In an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica, Boone said: “We want to work with Rome but we will monitor respect for rights and freedoms” and “we will pay close attention to respect of values ​​and the rule of law. The EU has already shown that it is vigilant toward other countries such as Hungary and Poland.”

Meloni, who is expected to be appointed prime minister of Italy after her right-wing coalition won 44 percent of the vote in an election on September 25, called the comments “an unacceptable threat of interference in a sovereign state.”

Meloni wrote on Facebook on Friday: “I want to hope that, as often happens, the leftist press has misrepresented the real statements made by foreign government officials, and I trust that the French government will immediately deny these words, which resemble too much an unacceptable threat of interference against a sovereign state and a member of the European Union.”

Meloni was also angry at comments after last week’s election by French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, who said: “I do not comment on the democratic choice of the Italian people” but at the same time France must be attentive “to certain values ​​such as human rights and the right to abortion.”

Relations between France and Italy grew closer under Mario Draghi’s premiership, with him and Emmanuel Macron signing a strategic partnership and teaming up to propose reforms to European fiscal rules.

But in an interview with Le Figaro before the election, Meloni suggested that her government could upset that relationship and she intends to put Italy first.

She said: “We want an Italy that matters more, in a more balanced Europe than the one we have seen in recent years. Italy must be able to defend its interests in Europe, as France and Germany do.” 

The French embassy in Rome did not immediately respond to a request for comment.