Macron seeks reconciliation with Italy

French President Emmanuel Macron launched a call for reconciliation with Italy following a diplomatic spat between the neighbours, news wires reported. Relations between the two countries fractured due to repeated clashes between centrist Macron and Italy's populist coalition government.

Last month, Paris recalled its ambassador from Rome in protest at "unfounded attacks and outlandish claims" by the Italian cabinet. "There has been intemperate talk. There have been various twists and turns and I think we owe it to our people, to our history and to Europe, to get past that," Macron said Sunday on Italian television. "No country, no one in Europe, nor Italy, nor France, will solve its own problems by opposing other European countries and by withdrawing back to the national level," he insisted. Macron also said he felt Europe was like living "on a volcano".

In the spirit of reconciliation, Macron said he would host his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella at Amboise, central France, on 2 May to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci "with French and Italian youth". "We will talk about the future and Europe," he added. The two presidents intend to go "beyond the misunderstandings that can sometimes arise in political or economic life and which are, for me, secondary," Macron said, without mentioning Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte or other Italian leaders. With the exception of a question about the planned Lyon-Turin rail link, which importance he stressed, Macron did not mention other divisive subjects such as Italian populist leaders' support of the "yellow vest" protestors in France or the merger between French shipbuilder Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Italy's Fincantieri. On the other hand, he spoke at length about his love of Italy and his travels.

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