Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met with Tesla founder and Twitter owner Elon Musk for an hour and a half in Rome this week, bonding over concerns about low natality rates.
Meloni said it was a “great pleasure” to meet Musk, an assertion corroborated by photos of the two smiling and hugging:
Italy’s first female prime minister said the meeting was “very fruitful,” noting they had discussed “crucial issues,” such as innovation, the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence, European market rules, and shrinking birth rates.
The birth rate is, in fact, a vital issue for Musk. He famously tweeted in 2022 that “[p]opulation collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming.”
Musk, also the founder of SpaceX, doubled down last January, insisting that underpopulation is a far greater concern for the world than overpopulation.
“Population collapse is an existential problem for humanity, not overpopulation!” he wrote on Twitter.
Musk has also specifically called out the problem of Italy’s demographic winter, asserting that “Italy will have no people if these trends continue.”
For her part, Meloni has been a vocal critic of Italy’s falling birth rate, promoting pro-family policies as a central plank in her governing platform.
Last fall, Meloni launched her party’s election manifesto, promising to halt illegal immigration and boost the country’s birth rates.
In the manifesto, the leader of Fratelli d’Italia promised to support Italian families and look to increase the country’s birth rate, which is one of the lowest in Europe.
Among the pro-family measures was a payment of 300 euros per month for children during their first year, which reduces to 260 euros per month until they are 18. She also proposed cutting value-added taxes (VAT) on childhood products such as baby formula.
“The challenge of the birth rate is our challenge of life,” Meloni said in a 2022 Twitter post. “While in Italy the left has always preferred the shortcut of immigration to solve the problem of demographic decline, Fratelli d’Italia has always placed family assistance policies at the center of the debate.”
“Italy is a nation destined to disappear,” Meloni has stated in reference to dire demographic data. “Fratelli d’Italia has been leading for years, often alone, a battle to ensure that the birth rate is a priority for Italy and for Europe.”