France-Italy treaty “will encourage” European integration, according to Draghi

Frenchman Emmanuel Macron, left, and Italy’s Mario Draghi held a press conference after signing a deal that could tip the balance of power in Europe. / Remo Casilli / Reuters

Frenchman Emmanuel Macron, left, and Italy’s Mario Draghi held a press conference after signing a deal that could tip the balance of power in Europe. / Remo Casilli / Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Rome to sign a new cooperation treaty with Italy, which he and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi say will help forge closer cooperation in all areas, from defense to culture.

Italy said the move had significant symbolic value for Europe, after Brexit and just before the departure of longtime German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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“The agreement aims to encourage and accelerate the process of European integration,” said Draghi. “I am talking about relaunching investments, particularly in strategic and innovative areas such as semiconductors, digital and energy transition and building a real European defense.

The deepest meaning of this treaty is that of our sovereignty, understood as our ability to lead the future as we wish.

– Mario Draghi, Italian Prime Minister

The deal comes after a recent period of tension between Paris and Rome. They clashed over migration and defense issues but Irene Caratelli, director of the international relations program at the American University of Rome, believes that relaunching bilateral cooperation is in France’s interest.

Caratelli told CGTN Europe Global affairs program: “For France, this is very important because it needs an ally when it starts its own presidency of the European Union in January.

She added: “And this is also very relevant given the expansion of the membership of the European Union today and the weaknesses Germany will face in the short term due to Chancellor Merkel’s exit from the political scene. “

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But is this rapprochement between Italy and France really aimed at improving relations and exchanges, or is it really Germany? Caratelli thinks it’s a bit of both.

“It’s about the need for some countries to set the EU’s agenda. Italy and France are founding members as well as Germany, so if the three countries could really work together, that would be even better. . “

The statements Macron and Draghi made after signing the treaty are ambitious, said Caratelli, who believes the idea of ​​an EU defense force will complement NATO and be a further step towards a more united Europe.

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