Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, known as “female Mussolini,” who took office in late October, closed ports to rescue ships, during her first trip overseas. French far-right political party Rassemblement National (RN) picked Jordan Bardella as its new leader, attempting to attract younger voters. Some voice concerns that far-rightist movements in France and Italy, the second and third largest economies in the European Union, may encourage similar political movements in Europe.
According to the Italian daily La Stampa on Friday, Prime Minister Meloni met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on the previous day. President von der Leyen suggested to “firstly save refugees that roam around the Mediterranean because no one will accept them and discuss quota distribution.” Prime Minister Meloni turned down the suggestion, saying, “Italy’s priorities are not focused on priorities, but to keep our borders safe.” As of Saturday, four rescue ships were awaiting port approval near Sicily.
French political party RN voted for Bardella, who strongly opposes accepting refugees, as its new president on Saturday. Bardella, who has asserted that France is not the world’s hotel, had served as the party’s leader on behalf of former party President Marine Le Pen, who stepped down to run for the president in April this year. It is the first time for the party to be led by a leader who is not affiliated with the Le Pen family since Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen’s father, founded National Front, the former name of RN.