French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni vowed to work more closely together as they met on Tuesday in Paris for talks aimed at patching up ties.
The neighbors have repeatedly clashed over immigration since Meloni’s election in 2022 at the head of Italy’s most right-wing coalition since World War II.
On her first visit to see Macron in Paris, Meloni told reporters that “Italy and France are two allied nations, two important nations, central, protagonists in Europe which need to talk to each other at this time when our common interests are very aligned”.
“It’s essential that Rome and Paris continue to work together at both the bilateral and multinational level,” she added.
Macron called for the two allies to continue their “cooperation” on migration, which is a major domestic political concern for his and Meloni’s governments.
“Italy and France can continue to move forward usefully in the next weeks, months and years,” he added.
In November 2022, Meloni refused to allow a humanitarian ship carrying 230 migrants to dock in Italy, leading it to head to France where the government denounced Rome’s “unacceptable” decision.
Meloni was also irked when Macron invited German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, but not her, to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the eve of a European summit in February.
Outspoken French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin sparked a fresh war of words in May when he said that Meloni was “incapable of resolving the migration problems on the back of which she was elected”.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani cancelled a planned trip to Paris as a result and demanded an apology.
Meloni and Macron were also due to discuss aid for Ukraine and prepare for forthcoming EU and NATO summits this month and in July, according to a French presidential official.
Macron said the two countries needed “frank, ambitious and demanding dialogue” beyond the “controversies and disagreements”.
©️ Agence France-Presse