French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Meloni held talks in Paris on Tuesday aimed at mending ties, vowing to work more closely together.
The two neighbors have repeatedly clashed over immigration since Meloni was elected in 2022 to lead Italy’s far-right coalition since World War II.
On her first trip to Paris to meet Macron, Meloni told reporters, “Italy and France are two allies, two important countries, the center, the protagonists of Europe, who need to talk to each other at a time when our common interests are very much aligned. “.
“It is vital that Rome and Paris continue to cooperate at bilateral and multilateral levels,” she added.
Macron called on the two allies to continue to “cooperate” on immigration, a major domestic political issue for him and the Meloni government.
“Italy and France can continue to make good progress in the coming weeks, months and years,” he added.
The government denounced Rome’s “unacceptable” decision in November 2022 after Meloni refused to let a humanitarian ship carrying 230 migrants dock in Italy, leading it to France.
Meloni was also annoyed when Macron invited German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, rather than her, to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the eve of a European summit in February.
Outspoken French Interior Minister Gerard Damanin sparked a new war of words in May when he said Meloni “couldn’t solve the immigration problem after her election”.
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani canceled a planned trip to Paris as a result and demanded an apology.
Meloni and Macron will also discuss aid to Ukraine and prepare for upcoming EU and NATO summits this month and July, according to a French presidential official.
Macron said that in addition to “controversies and differences”, the two countries needed “a frank, ambitious and demanding dialogue”.