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European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday congratulated far-right leader Giorgia Meloni on becoming Italian prime minister and said she looked forward to “constructive cooperation” with her government. online news
“Congratulations to Giorgia Meloni on her appointment as Italian Prime Minister, the first woman to hold the post,” von der Leyen tweeted.
“I count on and look forward to constructive cooperation with the new government on the challenges we face together.”
Von der Leyen later tweeted that she and Meloni had a “good first call” with a picture of her holding a mobile phone to her ear.
“We will work together to address the critical challenges of our time from Ukraine to energy,” she added.
The head of the European Council, Charles Michel, also welcomed Meloni as Italy’s new premier, and tweeted: “Let’s work together for the benefit of Italy and the EU.”
Meloni tweeted back thanks to von der Leyen and Michel, saying she was “eager and ready to work with you to strengthen EU resilience towards our common challenges” and “We’re ready to do our best!”
The congratulations to Meloni were echoed by the speaker of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, who tweeted in Italian that “Europe needs Italy”.
Meloni responded by saying: “Italy will do its part for a strong and effective Europe in responding to the challenges of our time.”
Meloni, the 45-year-old leader of the post-fascist Brothers of Italy party, was named Italian prime minister on Friday, taking the helm of the EU’s third-biggest economy.
She named a former European Parliament speaker, Antonio Tajani, as her foreign minister.
Meloni’s coalition wants to renegotiate Italy’s portion of an EU post-Covid recovery fund, arguing that the current energy crisis should be taken into account for their disbursement.
But the funds are tied to a series of reforms and analysts say Meloni has limited room for manoeuvre on that issue.
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