Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Angela Giuffrida in Rome

Italy denies removing LGBTQ and abortion references from G7 declaration

Pope Francis speaks while sitting between Giorgia Meloni and Emmanuel Macron
Pope Francis, sitting between Giorgia Meloni and Emmanuel Macron, addresses the G7 summit. Photograph: Vatican/Getty Images

Italy’s far-right government has denied that it removed references to abortion and LGBTQ rights in the final declaration of the G7 summit in Puglia.

In the declaration, published late on Friday, a reference to the protection of the “gender identity and sexual orientation” of the LGBTQ community did not appear, although reference had been included in the final declaration of the G7 in Japan last year.

The word “abortion” was also left out of a broader commitment to “universal access to adequate, affordable, and quality health services for women, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all”.

In last year’s communique, G7 leaders had explicitly committed to addressing “access to safe and legal abortion”.

Bloomberg, which first reported on the removed LGBTQ passage, linked the removal to the involvement in the summit of Pope Francis, with whom the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, has bonded over LGBTQ and abortion issues. It is the first time a pontiff has addressed a G7 meeting.

“The news published by Bloomberg, according to which any reference to the rights of LGBT people could be removed from the final G7 communique, is devoid of any foundation,” Meloni’s office said. “The Italian presidency [of the G7] categorically denies this reconstruction.”

The allegation followed a clash between Meloni and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, after Italy was accused of diluting a reference to guaranteeing access to “safe and legal” abortions in the G7’s final text. The clause had also been agreed by the G7 members in Japan.

Sources in Meloni’s office denied that the reference had been removed, saying on Thursday that the declaration was still being negotiated and that “everything that will be included in the final document will be final points resulting from the negotiations”.

Macron told reporters on the sidelines of the event that he “regretted” the removal of the reference.

“You don’t have the same sensibilities in your country,” Macron said to an Italian journalist. “France has a vision of equality between women and men, but it’s not a vision shared by all the political spectrum.”

Meloni hit back by accusing Macron, who called a snap election after a surge by France’s far right in the European elections, of using the G7 for “electioneering”, according to reports in the Italian press.

Since taking power in October 2022, Meloni’s government has introduced policies against the LGBTQ community, such as a crackdown on same-sex parenting, and in April approved a law allowing anti-abortion activists to enter abortion clinics.

In early May, Meloni vehemently defended the Italian families minister, Eugenia Roccella, after she was heckled by student protesters over the government’s stance on abortion during a conference on how to reverse Italy’s declining birthrate.

Roccella initially tried to confront the protesters but decided to abandon her planned speech and left the stage. Meloni called the protest “disgraceful”, posting on social media: “It is time to say enough is enough.”

• This article was amended on 15 June 2024. The government of Giorgia Meloni took power in October 2022, not 2021.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.