WA few hours after taking office, the new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met French President Emmanuel Macron in Rome on Sunday evening. Macron arrived in Rome on Sunday morning for a long-planned two-day visit. Macron takes part in the annual peace meeting of the Catholic lay organization Sant’Egidio under the motto “The call for peace – religion and culture in dialogue”.
At the meeting, Macron also met President Sergio Mattarella and the new Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani. Macron and his wife will receive a private audience from Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.
The surprising meeting of Melonis with Macrons had apparently been prepared by both sides with the utmost discretion for days. At first it was said that a meeting would only be possible shortly before Macron returned to Paris on Monday. Unlike some of his government members, who had expressed concern about Melonis imminent accession to power in Rome, Macron had always been optimistic about the development of bilateral relations after the election victory of Melonis and her center-right alliance on September 25.
After the extreme right won the elections in Italy, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne insisted on the protection of fundamental rights in all EU member states. “In Europe we have a set of values and of course we will be careful that these values regarding human rights and the right to abortion are respected by everyone,” Borne said on BFMTV the day after the September 25 parliamentary elections.
In an interview with the newspaper La Repubblica, French Europe Minister Laurence Boone said Paris would “ensure that civil rights and freedoms remain respected in Italy”. Contrary to his otherwise level-headed manner, President Mattarella’s reaction was quite clear: “Italy can take care of itself – with respect for its constitution and for the values of the EU,” he said.
Macron warned against Germany’s isolation
Melonis met Macron in Rome on the day she took office against the background of recent tensions between Paris and Berlin. In an unprecedented act, Macron canceled the joint government meeting in Fontainebleau that had long been planned for this week.
Paris is upset because Berlin had not agreed the planned investment and aid package for consumers and the economy of over 200 billion euros with the French government. Upon his arrival at the EU summit in Brussels, Macron said on Thursday: “It is neither good for Germany nor for Europe if Germany isolates itself.”
Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who left office on Sunday, and Macron had maintained friendly relations politically and personally. Mattarella and Macron also share a personal friendship. With the gesture to Meloni, Macron is signaling that he wants to further deepen bilateral relations with the new government in Rome.
In November 2021, Draghi and Macron signed the Quirinal Treaty named after him in the presidential palace in Rome, which is officially called the “Treaty for Enhanced Bilateral Cooperation”. The treaty is understood in Rome and Paris as a counterpart to the Franco-German Elysée Treaty, which Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer once signed.
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