meloni at eu council in Granada

Italian-German Relations on the Mend


Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently met on the sidelines of the informal European Council meeting in Granada to address strained Italian-German relations, primarily stemming from the migrant issue.

A key point of contention was Germany’s decision to fund NGOs conducting search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean and then disembarking rescued migrants and refugees in Italy.

Additionally, the two nations had disagreements concerning the crisis management section of the new EU pact on migration and asylum. However, an agreement was eventually reached after Germany dropped an amendment.

Satisfaction Over EU Pact Agreement

During their 45-minute bilateral meeting, both leaders expressed “satisfaction” at the agreement reached on the EU Pact. They “discussed the main European issues at the heart of the Council, with a particular focus on the migration issue, expressing satisfaction at the agreement reached in Brussels on the regulation of crises”.

Meloni and Scholz acknowledged the high level of cooperation between Italy and Germany. They also agreed to meet at the Italian-German intergovernmental summit scheduled for the end of November.

Continued Tension at the EU Level

Despite the easing of tensions between Berlin and Rome, considerable friction persists at the EU level. Poland and Hungary’s opposition to the new Pact resulted in the omission of a migration chapter from the final declaration of the Granada summit.

Under the pact, EU member states will be required to either accept a share of migrants arriving in frontline states like Italy or Greece or pay for each migrant they refuse to receive. Meloni emphasised her belief that preventing migrants’ arrival in the EU is paramount, and said she understood Budapest and Warsaw’s perspective.

“We voted for the pact because the new rules are better than the previous ones,” Meloni said.   “But I did not make this a priority.

“It is the debate based on an old perception (of the migration issue).

“Our position is different from that of Poland and Hungary because of geographical issues.

“They understand the Italian position, I understand their position perfectly and it does not compromise how we work together”.

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