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Monday, February 6, 2023

Meloni hosts von der Leyen with migrants and cash on her thoughts

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Good morning and, for a lot of of you, welcome again to the workplace. While you loved your weekend, Vladimir Putin’s promise of an Orthodox Christmas ceasefire in Ukraine proved to be false, to the shock of completely nobody. And Sweden’s prime minister mentioned he would make no extra concessions to overturn Turkey’s block on their Nato membership.

For you as we speak: Italy’s prime minister hosts the European Commission president for talks on migrants and cash, whereas again in Brussels member states are grumbling concerning the sluggish tempo of laws because the 2024 European election shutdown looms into view.

Meloni’s balancing act

Since her ascendancy in late October, Italy’s chief Giorgia Meloni has sought to allay fears that Rome’s relationship with Brussels would develop extra fractious underneath her premiership, anxieties rooted in her beforehand strident criticism of the EU.

But Meloni has additionally demonstrated that she intends to be extra assertive in pushing what she sees as Italy’s nationwide curiosity, attempting to power the EU to behave on points she deems essential, like unlawful migration.

The newest episode in Meloni’s delicate balancing act — attempting to get what she desires with out antagonising Brussels — takes place as we speak as Ursula von der Leyen pays her a go to, writes our Rome bureau chief Amy Kazmin.

Meloni’s first overseas journey days after her swearing-in was to Brussels to satisfy key figures within the EU institution. The rightwing nationalist has loads of hot-button points to debate with the fee president.

First, migrants: More than 105,000 irregular migrants landed on Italian shores from throughout the Mediterranean in 2022, up from 67,000 in 2021 and simply 34,000 in 2020.

While France hammered out a plan for the voluntary “redistribution” of migrants throughout Europe throughout its presidency final 12 months, Meloni’s authorities is demanding that the EU take extra concerted motion to “defend Europe’s borders” and curb unlawful entries into the EU within the first place.

Second, cash: Meloni is eager to debate potential amendments to Italy’s EU-funded €200bn pandemic restoration plan to keep in mind the influence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, particularly surging vitality costs and inflationary stress.

Also on the agenda is the European response to Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act; a debate set to dominate von der Leyen’s 12 months.

After her first assembly with von der Leyen in Brussels, Meloni known as the trade “very positive”, and mentioned she had discovered a receptive viewers for Italy’s considerations. Von der Leyen known as it a “strong signal” to EU institutions.

Expect to see extra of these good vibes throughout as we speak’s shut encounter. What issues is whether or not the grins stay in non-public.

Chart du jour: Powering Ukraine

“[My team] are Marvel superheroes,” a upkeep engineer at Ukraine’s largest non-public vitality firm tells John Paul Rathbone for this report on rebuilding energy networks destroyed by Russian assaults. “It’s our job to bring light to people, doing the impossible.”

Legislation logjam

Brussels labored at breakneck pace in 2022, reacting to a number of crises brought on by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

But the momentum within the European Commission is already slowing and threatens to go away some promised laws unfinished earlier than the 2024 European elections dominate the agenda, diplomats inform Andy Bounds.

Member states want time to achieve settlement between themselves and parliament, mentioned one EU diplomat: “The tendency is to postpone a number of initiatives, which will create an enormous backlog.”

“If proposals are to be processed in the system, they should come now,” they added. “It’s a year’s work. And there is hardly a year left.”

They blamed “administrative circumstances” as von der Leyen’s crew pulled collectively “packages” of two or extra proposals, with one typically holding up the opposite.

Delayed laws contains well being sector, transport sector and environmental initiatives, they mentioned.

For instance, the replace of the ‘Reach’ chemical regulation has already been shunted to the second half of the 12 months. Another diplomat mentioned business commissioner Thierry Breton wished to cease including “green tape” to companies hit by excessive gasoline costs.

“There is specific pushback on environmental proposals. This level of mollycoddling could end up smothering European climate leadership altogether,” they mentioned.

The fee advised Europe Express that it was “working around the clock to develop and finalise all initiatives announced in our Work Programme”.

What to observe as we speak . . .

  1. UK overseas secretary James Cleverly hosts European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič for a working lunch and their newest discussions on the Northern Ireland protocol.

  2. US deputy assistant secretary of state Gabriel Escobar and EU particular consultant for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák go to Nato for talks on Kosovo.

. . . and later this week

  1. On Tuesday, EU and Nato heads meet to signal a long-delayed joint declaration of co-operation between the 2 organisations.

  2. Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida travels to France on Monday, Italy on Tuesday and the UK on Wednesday earlier than heading to North America.

Now learn these

Britain after Brexit — Keep updated with the most recent developments because the UK financial system adjusts to life outdoors the EU. Sign up right here

Trade Secrets — A must-read on the altering face of worldwide commerce and globalisation. Sign up right here

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