President Trump’s meeting at the White House with the newly elected Italian Prime Minister was a huge win for the populist-nationalist movement spreading across many European nations. In fact, many of our allies are searching for their own great negotiator, who will once again reclaim Europe’s sovereignty and hopefully “make Europe great again.”
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is a political novice, an outsider in the same mold as President Trump.
He is also a lawyer by profession with an established academic background (even teaching law at the University of Florence). Conte decided to run for office after witnessing the unbridled surge of thousands of migrants over-running his country without any relief in sight.
Italy is the first port of entry through the European continent, with refugees coming mainly from North Africa. An estimated 600,000 refugees have made Italy there home within the last 5-years, which disproportionately puts the tiny Mediterranean peninsula at the epicenter of the immigration crisis.
The 53-year old Prime Minister has publicly vowed to take a tough stand on illegal immigration in Europe, saying other nations in the region should follow his example.
The president praised the Prime Minister at their joint news conference on Monday stating, “He’s a man who’s doing a fantastic job. I agree very much with what he’s doing on migration and illegal immigration and even legal immigration.”
Adding, “I know he’s taken a very firm stance on the border, a stance few countries have taken and frankly he’s doing the right thing, in my opinion. A lot of other countries in Europe should be doing it also.”
“Today Prime Minister Conte and I are pleased to announce a new strategic dialogue between Italy and the United States that will enhance co-operation on a range of issues. This includes joint security efforts in the Mediterranean, where we recognize Italy’s leadership role in the stabilization of Libya and North Africa… they’ve been terrific”.
President Trump went further: “Both the Prime Minister and I are focused on the urgent need to protect our nations from terrorism and uncontrolled migration. Our countries have learned through hard experience that border security is national security. They are one and the same”.
The Prime Minster much like President Trump is taking a more aggressive and direct approach to the immigration crises, preventing some ships with migrants from entering Italy’s ports of entry, moreover directly challenging the European Union to do more in taking illegal aliens as a bloc.
Conte recently confronted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other EU officials asking them to mediate with other European countries in taking in migrants from port cities like Italy.
The Italian government estimates that in 2017 alone, it has spent about 5 billion dollars on the migrant crises while receiving far less in aid from EU in dealing with the problem.
Moreover, over 50% of Europeans polled believe that President Trump would be a much better negotiator than Prime Minister Theresa May in getting a good Brexit deal, with many believing that the British Prime Minister is a weak deal maker.
One thing is for sure, Europe is a mess and perhaps Italy’s Trump, Giuseppe Conte, is the first step towards a solution.