After years of turbulent relations between Paris and Rome, France and Italy have finally sealed their reconciliation with the signing this Friday of the Quirinal Treaty, a far-reaching pact intended to strengthen bilateral relations between Europe’s second and third largest economies. . It is an important firm at a time of great community uncertainty, both because of the advance of the pandemic, the recovery plan, the ravages of Brexit or the tensions with Warsaw and Budapest. In this context, France and Italy seek to present themselves as a guarantee of stability.
Is también la mayor demostración hasta la fecha de l’entendre entre el presidente frances, Emmanuel Macron, y el italiano, Mario Draghi, dos tecnócratas que parecen estar posicionándose para ganar más influence en la política europea tras la retirada de Angela Merkel después de dieciséis años en the power. “This is a historic moment in the history of relations between the two countries. France and Italy are consolidating their diplomatic, political and cultural ties. From today we are even closer,” Draghi told reporters.
The French take advantage of his trip to Rome to visit the Pope, who granted him an unusual audience
The signing comes just after the agreement of the new tripartite coalition pact in Germany after the Merkel era, which over the years had forged close relations, especially with French leaders. These are times of change in which Italy aspires to a greater role in Europe thanks to the consensus generated abroad by its Prime Minister.
The Quirinal Treaty, named after the sumptuous seat of the Presidency of the Italian Republic, where it was signed, consists of twelve sections and aims to increase cooperation in key areas such as 5G, defense and security, economy and industry, culture, migration or the space sector. From now on, the two countries should consult each other to establish common positions before taking major European decisions.
It also includes a commitment to strengthen the European defense project complementary to NATO, a priority for Macron, and a mechanism for an Italian minister to take part in a meeting of the French government once a quarter, and vice versa, which Draghi. The model is the Elysée Treaty, signed between Paris and Berlin in 1963 to revive relations after the Second World War, renewed in Aix-la-Chapelle in 2019 between Merkel and Macron.
The agreement comes after a long negotiation between the two administrations. The design began at the Italian-French summit in Lyon in September 2017, when Paolo Gentiloni was still leading Italy. “They asked me why there was no equivalent to the Elysée Treaty, and I replied that a Quirinal Treaty was needed,” Macron revealed yesterday.
But since then, there have been many clashes, especially during the first government of Giuseppe Conte with the 5 Star Movement (M5E) and the League. The tension, palpable by the constant attacks of the then Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, on the migration issue, became a real diplomatic crisis when in 2019 Paris summoned its ambassador to Italy for consultations after the vice – Prime Minister at the time, Luigi Di Maio – now Minister of Foreign Affairs – traveled to the French capital to visit the yellow vests. According to French diplomacy, relations were at their most critical point since the Second World War. They have been criticized for everything from border brawls over the passage of migrants, to celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. An Italian deputy minister of the League is engaged in a crusade against a major exhibition at the Louvre claiming the Italian nature of the Renaissance genius.
The war between neighboring countries changed tone when Draghi arrived and negotiations intensified. The relationship between the two leaders is excellent, say Italian sources, who recall the Frenchman’s speech when Draghi resigned as director of the European Central Bank. The first sign of change was the arrest in France of ten early Italian terrorists who had spent half their lives residing in French territory benefiting from a controversial asylum policy.
By stitching up the wounds, the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who offered a dinner at the Quirinal on Thursday, played a key role. The resumption of relations with France is a personal success for the Head of State as his mandate is about to end in January. Draghi and Macron publicly thanked him for his efforts.
The French president’s official visit to Italy included a lengthy audience with Pope Francis, unusual as the pontiff does not usually receive leaders near election time. The French president has sought to convince him to travel to Brussels or Strasbourg early next year to deliver a message to relaunch Europe’s role.