Macron and Meloni: what was on the agenda?

French President Emmanuel Macron received the Italian head of government Giorgia Meloni at the Élysée Palace on Tuesday. Their talks focused on asylum policy, Ukraine and bilateral relations. Both sides were emphatically cordial. Commentators shed light on what divides and what unites the two.

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Le Figaro (FR) /

Definitely not best friends

Macron feels threatened by Meloni, observes Le Figaro:

“Giorgia Meloni has become one of Emmanuel Macron's main European headaches. The two leaders come from very different political backgrounds and do not like each other. Macron thinks back wistfully to his bromance with the former Italian prime minister Mario Draghi. ... Meloni poses a threat to Macron at the national and European level. ... The transformation of the Italian prime minister into a respectable leader within the European Union could serve as inspiration for Marine Le Pen in France. ... And the Italian example of a coalition between the right and the far right could serve as a model in France - as well as in the EU Parliament.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Team work on the Stability and Growth Pact

Common interests weld together, says La Stampa:

“Without France, Italy will never be able to overcome the resistance of the Germans and the so-called 'frugal' countries to redefining the criteria of the Growth and Stability Pact. And even France knows - at a time when the axis with Germany is flagging - that Italy can be an excellent sparring partner, at least for this step. The two politicians are convinced that a 'return to inadequate parameters' is unacceptable and that the real challenge of European governance must focus on investment and not on debt control.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

The economy binds them together

The interwined trade relations make cooperation imperative, Corriere della Sera points out:

“It is the figures of the respective trade balances highlighted by both sides that basically determine a binding path. ... This is why at the end of Meloni's visit one of the French president's closest aides conceded that at the moment there is much more convergence between France and Italy than between Paris and Berlin. This is not an observation concerning the relationship between the politicians of the two countries, but the result of an analysis of the priorities of the two states.”