The Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, signed today in Rome the Treaty of Quirinal, an agreement considered by both “historical“with the aim of promoting the Franco-Italian axis in Europe and starting a new era in relations between the two countries, once the difficulties of recent years have been overcome.
“Seeking European sovereignty means designing the future of the Europe that we want, not the one that others want,” said Draghi after signing at the joint press conference with Macron, who stressed that Paris and Rome share a vision of a Europe “more integrated, democratic and sovereign” and that their relationship has been maintained even “in the most difficult periods”, such as during the pandemic.
The pact sealed by Draghi and Macron in a solemn but also emotional act in the building symbol of Italian power, the Quirinal Palace, and in the presence of the Italian head of state, Sergio Matarella, It represents an advance in bilateral collaboration in foreign policy, security and defense, justice, migration policy, economic and industrial cooperation, education and culture, among others.
But this alliance also has another purpose: to promote a common front between Paris and Rome, giving greater weight to both countries, at a delicate moment for the balance of powers in the European Union (EU) with the departure of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, after more than 15 years championing the politics of the Old Continent.
The new axis
The Quirinal Treaty “aims to reinforce the convergence of the positions of Paris and Rome in Europe,” acknowledged Italian government sources, who stressed that the agreement comes when “bilateral relations are exceptional.” Although Franco-German ties remain vital for Macron, the French president also wants to look towards Italy, whose prestige has risen whole since the arrival of Draghi, the former banker who has achieved a unprecedented consensus both in Italian politics, leading a government of “national unity”, and in the international community.
The march of the incombustible Merkel, the woman who has “led” Europe in the last decade and who will be replaced by a face completely unknown to Europeans like Olaf Scholz, seems the right moment, although Macron assured today at the press conference that He is not “obsessed with leadership.”
The name of the agreement is a clear allusion to Treaty of the Elysee, which France and Germany signed in 1963 and which marked a boost from the Franco-German axis, which became the true engine of Europe. And it is not a coincidence.
The good time between Italy and France also benefits from the excellent personal relationship between Draghi and Macron, who have met up to six times since the former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) came to power nine months ago to remove Italy from a government crisis that called into question the management of the millionaire European funds granted by the pandemic.
A “common endeavor”
The treaty itself is a sample of this, close a turbulent period that even reached the call for consultations of the French ambassador in Italy when in 2019 the current Foreign Minister, Luigi di Maio, met with French anti-government protesters known as “the yellow vests.”
In fact, the agreement began to be forged in 2017, under the Italian Government of Paolo Gentiloni, current EU economic commissioner, but was paralyzed during the mandate of Giuseppe Conte, until the arrival of Draghi has allowed to conclude it successfully.
The treaty has 12 items on matters as delicate as migration, in which the “common commitment to a responsible policy” is established; cooperation in terrorism in Africa, from where jihadist movements threaten Europe; or defense, when the EU debates creating its own common protection system, without forgetting aspects such as space, science or culture.
In addition, to certify that these advances are not a dead letter, Paris and Rome are committed to holding an annual intergovernmental summit chaired by the heads of Government and the ministers involved, the ultimate goal of which is to intensify the “excellent” common bond between two countries. closely linked by the Mediterranean.