Italy, France and Merkel’s withdrawal deepens relations as they test European diplomacy.

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French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will shake hands when they meet at the Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, on November 25, 2021.Reuters / Yarranardi

November 26, 2021

By Crispian Balmer

Rome (Reuters) – Italian and French leaders sign a treaty on Friday to strengthen bilateral relations while European diplomacy is being tested by the resignation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Quirinale Convention aims to strengthen cooperation between Paris and Rome in areas such as defense, immigration, economy, culture and trade.

The signing ceremony took place shortly after the New Deal coalition agreement was agreed in Germany, with 16 years of reign by Merkel, an undisputed leader in Europe and a particularly close relationship with successive French leaders. Finished.

Berlin’s new government is expected to be more inward, especially at the beginning of its mission, and both Paris and Rome have been more liberated from economic uncertainty, pandemics, more aggressive Russia, rising China. USA.

“Macron’s intention is to create a new axis with Italy, but it is in Italy’s interest to connect with the French and German duo,” said a senior Italian diplomatic source who could not be named.

Renaissance

Originally envisioned in 2017, negotiations on the basis of the new treaty were discontinued in 2018, when the populist government took office in Rome and clashed with Macron over immigration.

Relations were sluggish in 2019, when Macron easily recalled the Italian ambassador to France, but this year there was a renaissance after the appointment of former European Central Bank Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who heads the unified government of Italy.

French diplomatic sources have rejected the proposal that a new axis between the European Union’s second and third largest economies represents a readjustment of Paris’ diplomatic priorities.

“We have never played a triangle of jealousy with our European partners. These bilateral relations complement each other when they are strong,” sources said.

Named after the residence of the President of Italy, the Quirinale Treaty, which roughly models the 1963 agreement between France and Germany, is with Paris, just as France has already coordinated major European policy movements with Germany. It is hoped that Rome will seek a common ground ahead of the EU Summit.

The full details of the agreement have not been released, but there is special interest in the section covering economic ties and cooperation in the strategic sector.

French companies have made significant investments in Italy in recent years, but Italian politicians have accused Paris of being less aggressive when Italian companies seek cross-border transactions.

Earlier this year, the bid by state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri to acquire its French peer Atlantic Shipyard collapsed due to EU competition.

Italian officials suspected that Paris was actively trying to undermine behind-the-scenes transactions.

(Edited by Gareth Jones)

Italy, France and Merkel’s withdrawal deepens relations as they test European diplomacy

Source link Italy, France and Merkel’s withdrawal deepens relations as they test European diplomacy

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