The President of the Italian Council, Giorgia Meloni, is welcomed at the Elysee Palace by Emmanuel Macron, June 20, 2023. PHILÉMON BARBIER / COLLECTIF HORS FORMAT POUR “LE MONDE”
Their relationship is embryonic, tentative and often stormy. Emmanuel Macron received, Tuesday, June 20, the President of the Italian Council, Giorgia Meloni. This first visit to the Elysée Palace by the leader from the far right, passing through Paris to defend Rome’s candidacy for the 2030 Universal Exhibition, was complicated to organize due to strong tensions between Paris and Rome since taking office in October 2022.
In the courtyard of the Elysée, on his arrival, the sun was in the game, suggesting a thinning, the future of which will tell if it will be lasting. or not. For the occasion, everyone tried to look good. The Head of State and his host have shown their intention to “work together” beyond “controversies”, in particular in the sensitive area for the two countries of immigration.
One way to overcome the tensions aroused in May by the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, when he judged the Italian leader “unable to resolve the migratory problems on which she was elected”. Giorgia Meloni and his government did not appreciate. In November 2022, it was Paris that was embittered by the coalition of transalpine rights when it refused to welcome the rescue ship Ocean-Viking, and its 230 migrants collected at sea, who had to be diverted to Toulon. .
Read also: On board the “Ocean-Viking”, rescue sailors facing the “new Italian strategy” in the Mediterranean Sea
To appease the climate, the Head of State first highlighted “the unique bond”, which unites Italy and France, this “friendship (…) which sometimes allows controversies, disagreements but in a framework that is always respectful because it is part of a story bigger than us, deeper, which has fed our imaginations, our artists, collective adventures”, he added, lyrically, facing the press.
“Italy and France are two linked nations, two important, central nations, protagonists in Europe who need dialogue at a time like this because our common interests are very convergent, replied Giorgia Meloni. I am hopeful that from today we will be able to work even better and even more together. »
Putting the EU Asylum and Migration Pact to music
Nevertheless, the migration dispute remains lively. “We need to be able to organize asylum and migration in Europe more effectively by being faithful to our values”, suggested Emmanuel Macron, addressing his “dear Giorgia”. At her side, the person concerned defended her radical positions on the matter, while also insisting on the need to continue “to work together both at the bilateral and multilateral level”.
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