A Franco-Italian treaty to pick up the pieces

No more cleaning scenes between Paris and Rome. That of February 5, 2019, when Luigi Di Maio, then Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the 5-Star Movement (M5S), crossed the Alps to support the yellow vests causing the unprecedented recall of the French ambassador to Rome. Or when former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini lashed out at the« arrogance » and the“Hypocrisy” of the French President in immigration matters.

Almost three years later, Italy turned the page on invectives. Mario Draghi, President of the Council, and Emmanuel Macron share the same values. “The treaty wantsrepair a relationship damaged by the multiplication of crises since the 1990s, whether political or economic, explains Jean-Pierre Darnis, scientific advisor at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), in Rome. This treaty is not just a Europeanist flag. It is concrete enough to restore a good understanding and deal with the possible return of the nationalists.. »

Mario Draghi wants to rationalize the relationship with France

The treaty was imagined in 2017 by the government of Paolo Gentiloni (December 14, 2016 – 1is June 2018), but the populist wave which then swept over the Boot stopped its advancement. He was exhumed in February 2020 during the bilateral summit in Naples, where after months of quarrel, the president of the Italian council, Giuseppe Conte, and Emmanuel Macron meet to reconcile in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

→ ANALYSIS. Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis, the challenges of an expected meeting

A year later, the new head of government, Mario Draghi, took over the project on his own, this time with the desire to conclude. Especially since the agreement is perfect between the former president of the European Central Bank and the tenant of the Elysee. “There is a cultural vein with Catholics at work in Italy”, remarks Jean-Pierre Darnis.

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Mario Draghi wants to rationalize the relationship with Italy’s second economic partner (after Germany), often dominated by “Mutual incomprehension”, concedes Jean-Pierre Darnis. “Italians have a fascination with France, noteLuisa Brunori. For them, the French are good students, a little arrogant. “

Drive a wedge in the Franco-German relationship?

For the Italian, researcher at the CNRS, «this treaty reassures because it better fits the relationship. Economic circles are in favor of it, because they see it as a means of protecting us from the assaults of France ”. Over the past twenty years, many transalpine companies, often leading, have gone under the French banner. “Italian Europeanists see an opportunity to relaunch the process of European integration by the two founding countries”, addLuisa Brunori.

→ TRIBUNE. Italy and France: together for a more powerful Europe

“The treaty also makes it possible to tackle common political issues”, believes Jean-Pierre Darnis, as France enters the presidential campaign and Italy will change president in February, and perhaps prime minister. But does it also allow us to drive a wedge into the Franco-German relationship, as some of the Italian press think? “The Quirinal Treaty does not compete with the Aix-la-Chapelle Treaty between France and Germany, he corrects. The range should not be overestimated, it has a lower intensity. “

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