Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to continue close cooperation with Italy. Meeting with Prime Minister Meloni in Rome: European asylum policy can also be discussed.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is in Rome today to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. This is the Chancellor’s first visit to the Italian capital since the leader of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia party took power in October.
Meloni was already in Berlin for her inaugural visit in February.
At the time, Scholz also announced that he wanted to cooperate closely with the new Italian government. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit confirmed this on Wednesday before the Chancellor’s departure.
“And that hasn’t changed in the past few weeks and months,” Hebestreit says.
Meloni, who attacked Germany harshly as an opposition politician, now adopts a conciliatory tone. During her visit to Berlin in February, she really didn’t want to remember a previous statement that she was allergic to Germany. “I have no idea when to say this,” she said at a joint press conference with Scholz.
Meloni has been pro-EU so far
Fears that Meloni might pose a threat to European cohesion were not confirmed in the first few months of his term. Unlike before he took office, he was pro-EU as prime minister and apparently has good relations with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. It is also in line with Berlin and Paris in supporting Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
It’s a little more crunchy when it comes to migration. Meloni continues to strongly oppose uncontrolled migration across the Mediterranean and prefers that there are no more ships sailing from Africa to southern Italy.
The subject of Meloni’s asylum policy at the meeting
Just weeks after taking office, a diplomatic crisis ensued between Paris and Rome when a civilian maritime rescue ship was turned away from Rome and forced to sail to France.
European asylum policy will also be a topic in talks with Scholz on Thursday. Parallel to the Chancellor’s trip, the interior ministers of the European Union are trying to initiate a major reform of the European asylum system in Luxembourg. It’s about a much harsher treatment of immigrants who are unlikely to stay and the duty to support particularly heavily burdened member states at the EU’s external borders, including Italy.
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