Emmanuel Macron met Giorgia Meloni in Rome

Emmanuel Macron met the new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni this Sunday evening in Rome. This tete-a-tete took place in the center of the Italian capital and not in an official palace.

French head of state promised on Twitter to work with the new head of the Italian government with « dialogue and ambition ». » As Europeans, in neighboring countries, as friendly peoples, with Italy we must continue all the work started. »

Just before this tweet, the French president had thanked outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi. « Grazie Mario », he also wrote with a photo alongside the former head of the ECB.

Emmanuel Macron is the first foreign leader to meet the new head of the Italian government, the most right-wing since 1946 and in office for only a few hours.

Until the end, Paris had been very cautious about the possibility and even the advisability of such a meeting, the official reason for Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Rome being a speech on peace delivered on Sunday during a international forum and an audience with Pope Francis scheduled for Monday morning. But the Italian political context, with the coming to power of the leader of the post-fascist party Fratelli d’Italia at the head of a coalition dominated by the extreme right, prevailed over these considerations. During his previous papal audiences, in 2018 and 2021, President Macron had in fact each time had more or less formal talks with Italian leaders.

Turbulent relationships ahead?

Franco-Italian relations, in good shape as long as Mario Draghi ruled the Peninsula, risk going through a zone of turbulence with the eurosceptic and sovereignist Meloni. A taste of these tensions took place even before his appointment, when the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Laurence Boone, warned in early October that France would be “very vigilant about respecting the values ​​and rules of the European Union. ‘rule of law’ in Italy. “Unacceptable threat of interference”, immediately protested the one who has since become the first female Prime Minister in her country.

Emmanuel Macron tried to calm things down on Friday by ensuring that he was « completely ready to work with her ». And Giorgia Meloni has given pledges to her European partners by hammering home her attachment to NATO and her determination to support Ukraine, while appointing personalities they may deem reassuring to key positions in Foreign Affairs and Economy.


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