It was a two-hour press conference taking stock of the year. Giorgia Meloni gave time to everything, from joking with the media to getting serious to talk about topics such as economy and migration. If something was clear after the Italian Prime Minister’s long appearance, it is that she avoids any altercation with journalists. She is dry, she never raises her voice, there are no dialectical incidents.

The leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy answered a whopping 40 questions. She herself comments, in a whisper that everyone hears, upon question 36: “I’m dying, I’m starting to have lapses.” And she herself asks for a truce: “I’m sorry, but I can’t take it anymore, I have to go to the bathroom, I’ll be back now.”

Among the most notable headlines, his “dissatisfaction” with the management of immigration, which in 2023 brought more than 157,000 people to Italian shores, and the possibility of opening reception centers in Africa. The most difficult moment of the past year? The answer comes without thinking: the tragedy of the shipwreck at sea in Cutro, with 94 immigrants dead, and above all the accusation that it is their fault.

Meloni, the first woman to lead the transalpine country, promised during her election campaign to cut the migratory flow in the Mediterranean. But after just over a year at the Chigi Palace, she could only admit to the press that the data “are not satisfactory.”

“They are not, given the mountain of work that I have dedicated to this issue,” he assumed this Thursday at the press conference, although he did admit to feeling “slightly” more optimistic with the data for the last part of the year, which indicates a decrease in the landings of migrants on its coasts.

Italy has closed 2023 with the arrival of 157,652 immigrants to its shores through the central Mediterranean, a peak compared to the 103,846 in 2022 and 67,040 in 2021, according to official figures from the Ministry of the Interior, Efe reported.

Meloni described the challenge of reducing immigration as “historic” and stated that his intention is to “solve the problem in a structural way and with enormous international involvement.” The objective, he clarified, is to “work in Africa”, from where the boats set sail, and “assess the opening of ‘hot spots’ (centres) to decide who has the right to arrive.” “For now, if you ask me if I feel satisfied, no, but if you ask me if I will be satisfied at the end of the term, I answer that I am working on it,” she declared before journalists.

Looking ahead to the European elections, at the beginning of June of this year, which will be her first electoral thermometer of the work done last year, Meloni said she was not “worried” and did not confirm her candidacy. At the head of a right-wing coalition Brothers of Italy, the League of Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia, led by Antonio Tajani after the death of Silvio Berlusconi, the ‘premier’ put the accent on the growth of the Italian economy, a few days after Parliament completed the processing of its second Budget and the country received the fourth tranche of the European Recovery Fund for 16.5 billion euros. “Italian growth is expected to be higher than the European average (1.2% according to government estimates), I have not increased taxes and I am committed to cutting public spending,” she highlighted.

One of the juiciest news of the press conference, from a political point of view, featured the representative of his own party Emanuele Pozzolo, who brought a gun to a New Year’s Eve party and ended up causing someone to be injured by a gunshot. “I have asked that Deputy Pozzolo appear before the ethics committee of the Brothers of Italy and that, pending the trial, he be suspended from the party,” Meloni announced forcefully.

Pozzolo, 38, admitted having gone with a weapon, a 22-caliber mini-pistol, to a party organized on the premises of a cultural association in Rosazza, a town of a hundred inhabitants 70 kilometers from Turin (northwest).

The 31-year-old victim, who was slightly injured in the leg, was one of the attendees, Afp reported. “I confirm that the shot was fired accidentally with a legal pistol that belongs to me, but it was not me who shot,” defended the deputy, known for having opposed vaccines and the health passport during the pandemic.