Messieurs les Présidents. On Wednesday, Italian President Sergio Mattarella met French President Emmanuel Macron in the context of his State visit to Paris. They had a two-hour-long private meeting, concluded by a joint declaration made by the two presidents.
- “These works go together as well as Italy and France do,” quipped Brigitte Macron, the president’s wife, while the leaders and their families toured the Louvre.
- In a statement, the Elysée noted how the visit testifies to the “relationship of trust and friendship between the two presidents, as well as the exceptional ties that unite our two countries […] expressed above all through rich bilateral cultural cooperation, which occupies a central place in the Quirinal Treaty.”
Rapprochement on migration. The dossier was one of the most sensitive topics in the bilateral relationship. The issue, relevant to both Italy and France, has been a cause of friction between the two countries – although the Presidents’ meeting highlighted that relations are unaffected.
- In early May, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani cancelled his trip to Paris after French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Rome was “incapable” of solving the issue.
- French FM Catherine Colonna then reached out to mend the rift and eventually travelled to Rome herself to meet her Italian homologue.
- It’s all happening as the EU’s member States are working on reforming migration policies, which the Meloni government has been advocating for.
- Paris leans towards supporting Rome’s line, and the two capitals also agree on reforming the EU’s fiscal rules to allow for less rigorous and more tailored solutions.
With the Quirinal Treaty done… Discussions also touched upon the other main topics mentioned in the Quirinal Treaty, a historical diplomatic agreement signed between France and Italy in November 2021 to strengthen cooperation across sectors, including the political, institutional, defence and security, industrial, research, and migration spheres.
… looking forward to the Action Plan. German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz is scheduled to make a State visit to Rome on Thursday – where he’ll meet Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to discuss the so-called “Action Plan,” the Italian-German equivalent of the Quirinal Treaty.
- Preliminary discussions on this agreement took place between the end of 2021 and early 2022. However, Russia’s aggression on Ukraine and the change of government in Italy delayed efforts.
Closing the triangle. By reinforcing cooperation in strategic sectors between Rome and Berlin, the Action Pact would effectively bring to life a France-Germany-Italy framework – complementing the historical Franco-German engine with the Belpaese’s political and productive prowess.
- The Franco-German version of these treaties of enhanced cooperation, known as the Treaty of Aachen, was signed in 2019.
- Together, the three economies amount to roughly half of the EU’s GDP and can boast an outsized political weight.