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POLITICS

Italy’s far-right Meloni angered by French ‘threat’

Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni has reacted angrily to comments from European Affairs Minister Laurence Boone reported in an Italian newspaper

Italy's far-right Meloni angered by French 'threat'
(Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

Meloni, whose post-fascist Brothers of Italy party won last month’s general election, has demanded an explanation after a French minister suggested rights may be at risk under the incoming government.

European Affairs Minister Laurence Boone told the Repubblica daily that Paris would “pay close attention to the respect for values and the rule of law” once the new government is sworn in.

“The EU has already demonstrated its vigilance towards other countries such as Hungary and Poland,” Boone added in the interview published Friday, citing the two Eurosceptic governments that have clashed with Brussels over civil rights.

Meloni said the comments appeared to be “an unacceptable threat of interference against a sovereign member state of the European Union”.

“I trust that the French government will immediately deny the words,” Meloni said, adding she hoped “the left-wing” daily had in fact misinterpreted Boone’s meaning.

Meloni, a fierce defender of Catholic family values, won as part of a right-wing coalition that civil rights activists fear pose a threat to civil rights, from abortion to same-sex marriage.

Italy’s most far-right government since World War Two is expected to be in place by the end of October.

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POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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