The Italian government is determined to increase domestic birth rates through a targeted family policy instead of supporting migration, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Sunday.
“Europe is waking up to problems for which some were recently condemned as dangerously sovereignist,” Meloni, president of the right-wing Italian Brotherhood (FdI) party, said in Milan on Tuesday.
Meloni continued, saying: “Italy has more and more people to support and fewer and fewer people to work,” and the Italian government “does not think exclusively in terms of migrants.”
“The problem can be solved in several ways and the government is not thinking only of migrants, but of the great untapped reserve of women in the workforce and of stimulating births,” Meloni said.
The Italian leader added that her government is focusing on demographic growth through family support policies that encourage births. She said the failure to invest in population growth in the past was a serious threat to the country’s economic and social survival.
The prime minister was speaking at a furniture exhibition and fair in Milan. She described the furniture sector as an area of national excellence, stressing that her government considers the protection of national products a priority. She noted that skilled labor is needed instead of people living on state benefits.
Meloni’s comments come after Pasquale Tridico, the outgoing president of the country’s National Institute for Social Security (INPS), claimed in an interview that Italy needed an unending stream of migrants to support its pension system — a claim sharply contested by the conservative government.
Europe’s real problem today is its lack of strategic autonomy
Meloni said that current issues in Europe must be reconciled with the protection of national interests, and that this is what the current Italian government is trying to do as best it can.
“Defending national interests also means strengthening Europe’s strategic autonomy,” said Meloni.
“We are waking up to the fact that we are no longer masters of our destiny. Today we are faced with this, and we are having an open debate about it, whereas if someone had raised the same issue a few years ago, they would have been declared a dangerous sovereignist,” she added.