Europe's Mediterranean states show united front
The so-called Med 7 - the Mediterranean states Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta - have convened for their fourth meeting. They proclaimed their joint commitment to a "common European immigration policy" in Rome and criticised Eastern European states that are refusing to take in refugees. Journalists assess how important the meeting is for a strong EU.
Macron wants to build hard core in Europe
On the fringes of the summit Emmanuel Macron proposed signing a treaty of friendship with Italy modelled on the one between Germany and France. A good idea, political scientist Vittorio E. Parsi comments in Avvenire:
“In his own way and with unquestionable passion the French president is trying to prevent the collapse of Europe. This is the motivation behind the planned new German-French friendship treaty due to be signed by the two countries [on 22 January]. His plans with Italy seem less ambitious but are headed in the same direction. ... Macron wants to build a hard core in Europe that can withstand the divisive forces of the 'New Europe'. ... Italy should sign a friendship pact with both countries. Above all because the resident of the Elysée Palace is the only one sure to stay put for the next few years. What will happen at the German Chancellery or the governmental palace in Rome remains to be seen.”
Less confrontation than a year ago
The rest of Europe should take a look at how Spain deals with the issue of migration, ABC comments:
“It's a good sign that this time the countries of southern Europe - the Med-7 Group - are not meeting in an atmosphere of rupture and confrontation with the countries of the north, as was the case at their first meeting in 2016. ... Migration is a decidedly pan-European phenomenon, even if the Mediterranean countries are those primarily affected. It has indisputable political repercussions in Germany and Austria and has triggered a lack of solidarity and incomprehensible reactions in Eastern Europe. ... At the meeting in Rome the Spanish head of government Mariano Rajoy can stress that he knows what he's talking about and has an effective policy for controlling irregular immigration. Spain may be a long way from fulfilling the quotas for taking in refugees defined by the EU, but at least the situation on Spain's borders is stable and under control.”