The diplomatic crisis between France and Italy worries Sergio Mattarella. The President of the Republic called his transalpine counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on the phone. Joint statement by Eliseo and Quirinale at the end of the interview.
During the dialogue, the Quirinal said, Mattarella and Macron affirmed the great importance of relations between Italy and France. And they shared the need to put in place the conditions for full collaboration in all sectors between the two countries, historical allies and “cousins” in Europe. The collaboration that Macron and Mattarella are thinking of concerns both the bilateral sphere and that of the European Union.
Voluntarily, the joint declaration between Macron and Mattarella does not go the least bit into the details of relations between Italy and France. It does not speak explicitly of migrants or other files. The two Heads of State – especially Mattarella who, within the framework of our parliamentary republic, and not presidential like the French one, is a figure of constitutional guarantee – do not indicate what must be done. Nor on what specific subjects their telephone conversation of November 13 took place. From a formal point of view, what the two presidents express is a generic wish to resume collaboration, without going into the substance of the files on the table.
Mattarella and the Quirinal Pact
However, it is certainly no coincidence that the Eliseo-Quirinale joint statement – a fact that does not happen every day – comes at the height of a crisis on the reception of migrants between France and Italy. Sergio Mattarella and Emmanuel Macron were the protagonists, exactly one year ago – together with then Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi – of the Quirinal Treaty. A pact that cements relations between Rome and Paris, with the aim of consolidating a stable platform for a deeper and more lasting alliance in a European key.
But the “forced” landing of migrants aboard the Ocean Viking ship in Toulon instead of Sicily in recent days has determined France’s furious reaction. A question very present in Mattarella. The new Meloni government refused to grant a safe port to the ship of the NGO Sos Méditerranée and Paris raised its voice, blocking the European program for the relocation of migrants already landed on our shores. And defining “Giorgia Meloni the big loser in this situation”. Germany was also upset. And he sided with the humanitarian aid to migrant refugees in the Mediterranean. “The commitment of NGOs deserves our gratitude and support,” tweeted German Ambassador to Italy Viktor Elbling.
Salvini threatens ‘hard fist’
But Italy, according to the voice of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Matteo Salvini, does not seem to want to back down. “The government is ready to hit hard on the landings,” Salvini relaunched. Words that will not be appreciated by Sergio Mattarella. And our Minister of Foreign Affairs? Antonio Tajani, while recalling Rome’s reasons, seemed to reach out to the French: “We are ready to speak to Paris and close a controversy that did not start with us”.
Monday, November 14, the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union should also talk about relief and redistribution of migrants. And, even here, it is no coincidence that Mattarella called Macron the same day. “The issue of migration will be raised during the meeting. I will recall “the need” for EU unity, responsibility for human lives and solidarity between Europeans”. Thus the French Under-Secretary for European Affairs, Laurence Boone. “I take this opportunity to thank countries that help France to welcome refugees”, he added. For the moment, however, a meeting between Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron is not scheduled for the G20 in Bali.