The French President, Emmanuel Macronand the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, have staged their reconciliation in Paris on Tuesday, making a common front on issues such as military support for Ukraine, the reinforcement of the EU’s external borders and migratory collaboration with North African countries such as Tunisia or Libya, or the relaxation of Community fiscal discipline rules. The two leaders have defended the “unique relationship” that links Italy and France despite the occasional “controversies” and “disagreements”.
Relations between Paris and Rome had bottomed out since the arrival to power of the radical right-wing government of Meloni, which is in the ideological antipodes of Macron. In fact, the French president has based his political career on stopping the extreme right of Marine Le Pen in France with centrist and Europeanist policies.
He worst clash between France and Italy It happened last Maywhen French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin accused the “extreme right” government in Rome of being “unable to solve immigration problems”. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani responded by canceling an official visit to Paris at the last minute to meet his counterpart Catherine Colonna.
[Rusia reconoce el avance ucraniano en Zaporiyia gracias a su contraofensiva en forma de ‘ola’]“
Minister Darmanin’s offenses against the Government of Italy are unacceptable. This is not the spirit in which common European challenges should be addressed,” Tajani wrote on his Twitter account. Colonna later tweeted that he had spoken to his Italian colleague and told her that “the relationship between Italy and France is based on mutual respect, between our two countries and between their leaders.”
This mutual respect is what Macron and Meloni wanted to show in their joint press appearance (without questions), in which they fully parked their deep ideological differences and they have placed all the emphasis on the points of convergence and agreement between the two countries.
First of all, the French president and the Italian prime minister have pledged to maintain their military support for Ukraine for as long as necessary. The two leaders highlighted the delivery to the kyiv government of the SAMP/T air defense system (of Franco-Italian manufacture), which Macron has said will serve to “protect Ukrainian civilians and facilities from Russian missiles” and is an example of collaboration between the two countries.
“We must continue (in our support for Ukraine) so that the counteroffensive launched a few days ago is as effective as possible,” said the French president. “There is no doubt that Italy and France will continue to support the cause of Ukraine for as long as necessary. Simply because if we stopped doing it, we would live in a much more chaotic world, a world in which war would come closer and closer to our countries,” Meloni agreed.
Les liens entre nos sociétés, nos économies, nos universités, nos artistes, font vivre un peu plus chaque jour ce rapport si unique entre l’Italie et la France. C’est le sens de notre histoire et de notre dialogue. pic.twitter.com/FSiWW78ZDN
—Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 20, 2023
In immigration matters, Macron has thrown a cloak at the Italian prime minister by stressing that “there is no good immigration policy in Europe if there is no coherent policy to protect our common border“. The French president has also called for improving cooperation with the countries of origin and transit in order to stop the departure of migrants and has defended the recent agreement in the EU on migration policy, which in his opinion will allow Paris and Rome work together pragmatically.
For her part, Meloni has argued that secondary movements of migrants cannot be governed irregular within the EU (which France reproached Italy for) if border entries are not stopped first. In this sense, the Italian Prime Minister has also opted for a partnership with the countries of North Africa, and in particular with Tunisia, a country that she visited a week ago together with the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
As regards the reform of the Stability Pact, both Macron and Meloni have argued that the priority must be to reindustrialise the continent and increase investment in the double digital and green transition, and not a return to fiscal discipline at all costs. that defends Germany. “We cannot consent to a return to parameters that today would be inadequate to deal with the current situation”, argued the Italian Prime Minister.