The World Today for March 12, 2024


The Masterful Player


Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has been confronting twin crises. The first is low economic growth. The second involves the nearly 160,000 migrants arriving in the country’s Mediterranean waters last year, a 50 percent increase over 2022. Meanwhile, she has been confronting them far more ably than her critics predicted, wrote the Economist.

Before she met recently with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (and before Palestinian demonstrators forced Meloni and Trudeau to cancel a state dinner, reported the Toronto Star), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation described Meloni as Italy’s “most right-wing leader since the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.” But the CBC also said she was a “key power player” in Europe who has fashioned continent-wide policies.

Meloni, for example, has supported Italy’s deployment of naval ships in the Red Sea to protect European ships from Houthi militants, an Iran-backed group in Yemen, reported the Associated Press. An Italian destroyer, the Caio Duilio, recently shot down a Houthi drone in the straits between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.

The Italian prime minister has been leading elsewhere on the international stage, too. She recently reached out to African leaders to call for equally beneficial relationships where all sides could meet as equals to solve Africa’s investment and security needs, while addressing Europe’s migrant crisis and energy needs, wrote World Politics Review. Her goal is to make Italy into a hub for African-produced energy, added Agence France-Presse.

She has used that international standing to help her domestically. An Albanian court, for instance, recently ruled in favor of Meloni and the Albanian government’s plan to send migrants rescued by Italian ships in the Mediterranean to camps in Albania while officials process their asylum requests, Euronews reported.

An Oscar-nominated film, Io Capitano, captures the ordeal that these migrants endure to reach Italy, the criminal organizations that run these routes, the government crackdowns on them, and the injustices that have arisen in the process, contended Sicily-based writer Richard Braude in a New York Times op-ed.

At the same time, however, Meloni is letting thousands of migrants stay in Italy if they can help address labor shortages, according to Reuters. Italy’s population is among the oldest and fastest-shrinking in the world. The construction, tourism, and agriculture industries are especially struggling with hiring challenges.

Growth might be harder to achieve. Gross domestic product only rose by 0.9 percent in the last year, Reuters reported. Still, it was on track to expand faster than Germany, Politico noted, a win that only reflects well on the prime minister and her ability to defy critics.

To read the full edition and support independent journalism, join our community of informed readers and subscribe today!

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.