Italy’s far-right leader visits EU: “We are not Martians”

Nov 3, 2022, 1:46 AM | Updated: 10:44 pm
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Me...

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — New far-right Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni used her first visit to European Union headquarters in Brussels Thursday to declare that Italy will be a force to reckon with in EU affairs, leaving it unclear whether that was a promise or a threat from one of the bloc’s powerful founding members.

Her first foreign trip after brokering Italy’s only far-right-led government since World War II was not the ordinary kind of visit by a new leader of a major EU nation seeking to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc.

For some, it brought the far right into the walls of the EU just as the bloc faces crises on many fronts.

Meloni emerged energized from the meetings with the EU’s most powerful officials: European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the European Council president who chairs all EU summits.

Meloni said she had found her counterparts receptive and described the talks as “frank and very positive.”

“I am happy with the climate I found here in Brussels. Probably to be able to see and speak with people can help dismantle a narrative about yours truly,” Meloni told reporters. “We are not Martians. We are people in flesh and bone who explain our positions.”

She said they discussed the war in Ukraine, the resulting soaring prices for energy and raw materials as well as the heavy migration that Italy shoulders at the EU’s southern border.

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party has neo-fascist roots and she has governed since Oct. 22 along with anti-migrant League party leader Matteo Salvini and former Conservative Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who only recently vaunted his connections to his friend Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s enough to send shivers down the spine of many EU legislators and officials, who fear the rule of law and revered principles of Western liberal democracy could be hollowed out from within as yet another EU nation turns sharply to the right.

Metsola sidestepped the political differences and centered on the common challenges ahead.

“I am aware that member states have different realities, but we must find the courage and political will to act as we did during the pandemic, by joining forces,” said Metsola after the meeting.

Many, though, are wary of working too closely with Meloni and her far-right-led ruling coalition.

On the eve of her visit, her government had to defend a decree banning rave parties against criticism it could be used to clamp down on protests, while it took no action against a neo-fascist march to the crypt of Italy’s late dictator Benito Mussolini.

Meloni has been dogged by critics who say she hasn’t unambiguously condemned fascism. The Brothers of Italy, which she co-founded in 2012, has its roots in a far-right party founded by nostalgists for Mussolini. She has retorted that she has “never felt sympathy or closeness for any non-democratic regime, including fascism.”

When it comes to the EU, Meloni is expected to criticize the bloc as being overly meddling in national affairs on anything from LGBTQ rights to local economies and too lax on migration.

Similar criticism has been heard in Poland and Hungary. For years, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a proponent of “illiberalism,” has increasingly run an obstructionist course in an EU where many major decisions have to be made unanimously.

Meloni has stressed, though, that she doesn’t want to torpedo the bloc, whose founding treaty was signed in Rome in 1957.

Italy isn’t in a strong position to break ranks with the EU or the shared euro currency. Its overall debt exceeds 150% of gross domestic product and it’s in line to get around 200 billion euros in aid to deal with the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. This offers the EU institutions extensive political leverage.

On EU foreign policy, which has become a much more trans-Atlantic endeavor with the United States since Russia invaded Ukraine, Meloni has had to overcome suspicions that her coalition could be leaning too far towards Putin.

When Berlusconi boasted to his Forza Italia lawmakers last month of having reestablished contact with Putin and exchanged birthday gifts, Meloni immediately put her foot down.

“Italy will never be the weak link of the West with us in government,” Meloni said.

Meloni has firmly backed Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s invasion.

___

Barry reported from Milan.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at EU headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni smiles as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, walks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni prior to a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, right, greets Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visits EU officials on Thursday, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              FILE - Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni listens to lawmakers speeches at the lower Chamber ahead of a confidence vote for her Cabinet, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is coming to Brussels Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)
            
              FILE - New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni gestures during the handover ceremony with outgoing Premier Mario Draghi at Chigi Palace Premier's office, in Rome, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is coming to Brussels Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, and it is no ordinary visit of the leader of a European Union founding nation to renew unshakable bonds with the 27-nation bloc. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

AP

Associated Press

Iran’s national soccer team receives subdued welcome home

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran’s national soccer team received a subdued welcome home after its World Cup defeat against the United States, a match played against the backdrop of ongoing anti-government protests in Iran. The players returned to Iran late Wednesday, a day their 1-0 loss. Anti-government protesters, considering the team a symbol of the regime, […]
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Associated Press

China eases some virus controls, searches pedestrians

BEIJING (AP) — More Chinese cities eased some anti-virus restrictions as police patrolled their streets to head off protests Thursday while the ruling Communist Party prepared for the high-profile funeral of late leader Jiang Zemin. Guangzhou in the south, Shijiazhuang in the north, Chengdu in the southwest and other major cities announced they were easing […]
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Associated Press

Australian jailed in Myanmar applauded in Parliament

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Sean Turnell, an Australian economist who spent almost two years imprisoned in Myanmar, received a hero’s welcome Thursday at Australia’s Parliament House where lawmakers rose in a standing ovation and the prime minister praised his courage, optimism and resilience. Turnell, an adviser to Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was […]
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FILE - European Council President Charles Michel arrives to meet with European Union foreign policy...
Associated Press

China’s Xi urges Ukraine talks in meeting with EU’s Michel

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged negotiations on a political solution to the Ukraine conflict in talks with visiting European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing Thursday, state broadcaster CCTV said. Xi was quoted as saying that “solving the Ukrainian crisis through political means is in the best interest of Europe and the […]
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Witalij Miskow, 45, speaks about his mental trauma at a clinic which treats veterans for PTSD, post...
Associated Press

‘Do something:’ Ukraine works to heal soldiers’ mental scars

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Sleep plunges the soldier back into the horrors of Ukraine’s battlefields. He can hear bombs falling again and picture explosions. He imagines himself frantically running, trying to save himself and others. The nightmares are so vivid and frightening that he pleads with his doctor for help. “It will blow my mind,” […]
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A woman uses her phone in front of monitors showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm w...
Associated Press

Asian shares gain after Fed chair signals slower rate hikes

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares advanced in Europe and Asia on Thursday after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the Federal Reserve chair’s comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Signs that China may be shifting its approach to containing COVID-19 outbreaks to focus more on vaccinations, while some cities […]
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