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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, on the first day of the G7 summit at the Borgo Egnazia resort, in Savelletri, Italy, June 13, 2024.

REUTERS/Louisa Gouliamaki

G7 meeting: Ukraine and Meloni take center stage

Leaders from the G7 countries met Thursday in Italy’s Puglia region, where the future of Ukraine aid was high on the agenda

Who’s there? The meetings are hosted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is at the height of her political power after European Parliamentary elections last weekend. She stands in contrast to other G7 leaders from Canada, the US, the UK, Japan, and Germany, all of whom are on shakier ground domestically.

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni welcomes European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Chigi Palace, in Rome, Italy, January 9, 2023.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Unlikely allies: Von der Leyen and Meloni's potential partnership

As the dust settles from last weekend’s EU Parliament elections, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is holding all the cards, and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is preparing to kiss the ring.

The EU undeniably shifted right in the election, with support for Meloni’s right-wing coalition climbing to more than 47%. Meanwhile, for von der Leyen, the center held — but barely. Her coalition of mainstream parties won a narrow 400-seat majority, but with many threatening to defect, so she will need to pull votes from Meloni’s camp to secure the 361 votes she needs to win a second term as commission president on July 18. For Meloni, supporting von der Leyen could further cement her influence in Brussels.

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Marine Le Pen, president of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National) party parliamentary group, gestures during the party's campaign for the EU elections, in Paris, France, on June 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Viewpoint: Far right poised for gains in EU elections

Nearly 400 million people across the 27 countries of the EU will be eligible to vote from June 6-9 for members of the European Parliament. These representatives will serve a five-year term and be charged with passing and amending EU legislation. But their first order of business will be to elect the president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body. They will vote on a candidate proposed by the European Council, which comprises the EU heads of state or government, based on the parliamentary election results.

Amid intensifying economic concerns and longstanding fears of migration, far-right parties are expected to expand their parliamentary representation. We asked Eurasia Group experts Anna-Carina Hamker and Mujtaba Rahman why that is and what this strong showing could mean for EU policy and politics over the next five years.

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FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attends her end-of-year press conference in Rome, Italy, January 4, 2024.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

Hard Numbers: Meloni suffers Sardinian blow, Russia jails another critic, Japan’s baby bust continues, Big Oil pumps Big Money

0.4: The rugged island of Sardinia has dealt rightwing Italian PM Giorgia Meloni the first serious electoral blow she’s suffered since taking office in 2022. In local presidential elections (Sardinia has special autonomy from Rome, and its own president) a candidate from the left-leaning anti-establishment 5-Star Movement beat the Meloni-backed candidate by a mere 0.4 points. Alessandra Todde will now become not only Sardinia’s first female leader, but the first 5-Star member to head any of Italy’s 20 regions.

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The beach, Red Sea State, Port Sudan, Sudan.

Eric Lafforgue / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

Sudan’s lost sea access worsens humanitarian disaster

Since fighting between rival military factions in Sudan erupted last April, nearly 8 million people have been displaced, and 24 million require urgent food aid. But the crisis now may begin to beggar description as the country loses access to its Red Sea coast and migrants stream across its borders.

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Police close Lincoln Street leading to Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant after deadly mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, U.S. October 26, 2023.

REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

Hard Numbers: Mass shooter kills in Maine, Mexico slammed by sudden hurricane, UAW makes deal with Ford, South African miners resurface, and Meloni takes a breakup break

16: A man in Lewiston, Maine, killed at least 16 people and injured dozens more in two mass shootings last night at a restaurant and bowling alley. The killer remains at large, and authorities urge all residents to shelter in place.

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The flags of Russia and North Korea.

IMAGO/Christian Ohde via Reuters

Hard Numbers: North Korean arms to Russia, terror in Brussels, Meloni eyes tax cuts, pro-Russian Georgian politicking, Palestinian-American boy murdered

1,000: White House officials say North Korea has sent up to 1,000 shipping containers of “equipment and munitions” to Russia recently. Satellite images purportedly show clear evidence of Russian ships linked to military transport networks collecting the cargo – signs that Pyongyang is aiding Moscow’s war efforts.

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A member of the Carabinieri gestures towards migrants outside the hotspot, on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, Italy, September 16, 2023.

REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Migration makes strange bedfellows of Germany and Italy

Just a week after a row between Italy and Germany over immigration policy, the two states now seem to be backing each other on the need to curb migration flows.
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