2018 elections: the point of view of the Hon. Giorgia Meloni (FdI)

(To Giusy Federici)

The topic Defense, in Italy, is not among the first that comes to mind when it comes to excellence. And it is a pity, because it represents an important sector of the Nation, a flagship that should however be looked after and endowed with greater resources and not ideologized, pro and especially against, as sometimes happens and in an extreme way. Although we are used to seeing men and women in uniform, on the roads but also to help the population in the event of a disaster, despite seeing the miracles they are capable of with the few resources available, the world of defense and its armature is not known nor appreciated as it deserves. In all this, what do the politicians think?

Waiting for the outcome of the upcoming elections, we want to hear from them, without filters. We ask directly to some politicians of the various camps how they intend to work if they go to the government and the clarification on some points of their defense program.

We host the opinion of Giorgia Meloni, leader of Fratelli d'Italia, a woman who has always had clear ideas about the Armed Forces and the security sector.

Mr Meloni, if it were to become the new Minister of Defense, what would be the first actions of discontinuity with the policies of the previous governments? And what would you save and carry on? 

I am now the candidate for the Presidency of the Council of Brothers of Italy and I hope to have the trust of the Italians to achieve this goal. But if it does not, it would be an honor for me to be able to take care of our men and women in uniform who defend our internal security and our borders. So deal with either the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Defense.

What would I carry forward? Undoubtedly an important operation as "Safe Roads", which has helped to make Italian cities safer and that the left wanted to drastically reduce, especially in terms of employment. Brothers of Italy wants to increase this presence tenfold and reintroduce the mixed military patrol-Forces of the Order.

The Brothers of Italy program speaks of "adjustment of the appropriations for the Defense to the Western average parameters". What exactly do you mean and where do you plan to find the resources? 

Too many times the defense-security sector has been the object of total indifference on the part of the various governments that have succeeded each other. It must be said that even during the last center-right government, men and women in uniform did not have the attention they deserved. We have been right-wingers to increase the resources allocated to international missions by more than a third by including the costs for training. And we consider it a priority to adapt the defense appropriations to Western parameters. It not only imposes national security but above all the fight against terrorism.

Resources? It is sufficient to establish that the deficit can only be used for public investment expenditure. These include a large part of those concerning the Defense.

Today our Armed Forces participate in 33 foreign missions in 23 countries, in addition to the work on the territory of carabinieri and police. However, there are many resources they would need: personnel, means, technologies, training and, of course, an adequate salary because a few tens of euros more are laughable if not offensive. Are the funds found? How? 

There are two main items of expenditure in the Brothers of Italy program: the most impressive plan to support the family and birth of the history of Italy and the priority to the security and the police forces. We want to increase the wages of our men and women in uniform, provide last generation equipment and put in place an extraordinary recruitment plan of at least 20 thousand effective. We have already quantified costs and coverage for 25 billions of euros through a reformulation of family allowances, a good use of European funds, the reduction of the costs of welcoming immigrants, the release of the limit for the use of cash, the reorganization of investee companies , the web tax and the recovery of the evasion of large groups.

But let me say that in spite of the difficulties you refer to, the quality and level of training of our soldiers employed in the missions is second to none and this is recognized by all the international institutions.

The final report of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on depleted uranium was published in a few weeks ago and it has also created discussions within the Armed Forces. What do you think?

Our position towards this Commission has been clear from the start. Brothers of Italy said no to the extension of the activity and decided to desert the works after having established that the only objective was to de-legitimize the military. The tasks of the commission, that is to ascertain any responsibility in the death of the military as a result of depleted uranium and to improve the working conditions of the milestones, have been disregarded.

The work of the commission was animated only by feelings of antimilitarism that have produced no concrete result either for the victims of depleted uranium or for the sick and for those who risk health consequences in future missions. Brothers of Italy has not taken part in this game in the massacre of the military, which are a heritage of the nation to defend and enhance.

In the program of the Brothers of Italy both national sovereignty and national interest in foreign policy are mentioned: do you realize that you are planning the opposite of what has been done up to now, for decades? And does this also concern our military missions abroad, where Italy sometimes seems to look after the interests of others against its own, for example in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? 

In the aftermath of the terrible terrorist attack by the 11 September 2001, Italy has been at the side of its international allies in the strategy to combat terrorism. The aim was to prevent the terrorists from having the support of organized states. It was right to go over there and defeat him. And our men and women, even on those occasions, have demonstrated all their indisputable skills, without any doubt being among the best military among all the international forces involved. I can not fail to address my gratitude and my sincere closeness to all those families who, in those lands so far away, have lost their loved one. The state must never forget it.

I believe that more mistakes have been made in the post-conflict phase. First of all the disengagement of the American military forces decided by Barack Obama.

Libya affects us closely and not just as a former colony. With Gaddafi's government, Italy had achieved a privileged position especially in economic terms, as well as in terms of immigration control. With the fall of the raìs a collapse occurred: we have lost prestige, contracts and we are unable to stop immigration. If you go to the government, how do you intend to move (this time ...)? 

The war against Libya was made against Italian national interests. It was strongly encouraged by the then head of state Giorgio Napolitano, the Democratic Party and the intelligentsia.

Everyone knows that the center-right government was strongly opposed to that military intervention but was forced to intervene after the unilateral actions of France and the United Kingdom, to prevent Italy from being totally ousted from Libyan territory after the end of the conflict and could continue to protect their interests in North Africa.

Mandatory leverage: in France, he is thinking of restoring it from 3 to 6 months, in Italy he is calling for its return from several places. It is not in your program, but don't you think that re-introducing it, even if only for a few months, could help young people to regain a sense of homeland and belonging that today is at an all-time low? 

We are against the return to compulsory conscription. The Brothers of Italy proposal is the "mini naja" on a voluntary basis which allows those who ask to participate for three weeks in the life of the Armed Forces. Voluntary enrollment for the 40-day stay should be promoted, recognizing school and university credits to the participants and also scores for each public competition.

Approaching the Armed Forces forms the character and helps to understand the importance of serving the country.

In previous years, in order to optimize costs and save money, we have often spoken of closing barracks of carabinieri, police and firefighters, in a delicate moment in which citizens, on the contrary, feel little protected by the State: Brothers of Italy intends to maintain if not to increase the presidium on the territory of the Police and urgent technical assistance? 

Absolutely yes. And I connect to what was said before on the 'Safe roads' operation. A greater presence in the territory of the Police and the Armed Forces does not scare the good citizens but only the criminals. More security is also equivalent to greater freedom.

Among the various points of your government program, there is the use of 50% of assets taken from the underworld for a fund in favor of the security and defense sector. How would they be used, concretely? 

Fratelli d'Italia wants to start the securitization of 50% of the assets stolen from the underworld to finance a specific fund in favor of the defense-security sector. It is a concrete proposal but also with a high symbolic value: to support those who defend freedom and fight crime with the money of crime itself.

Why should a soldier vote for you? 

Because Brothers of Italy has always been on the side of men and women with stars. He did so by siding on their side, even in their most difficult moments, especially when many pointed the index against them. And finally, because between us of FdI and those who have chosen to serve the country in arms there is a cultural and ideal affinity that the military appreciate and know well.