According to EURACTIV.it (Italy) news network on February 10, the Italian government’s failure to attend two important meetings of France and Germany with US officials and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sparked debate in Rome. about the country’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni being “isolated in the EU”.
For its part, the Italian government criticized Paris, saying it was preventing the EU from becoming a “united” bloc.
Meloni was not invited to the February 8 meeting in Paris between French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The conservative Italian leader described the incident as “inappropriate”.
“I think our strength in this regard is unity and I understand the pressures of domestic politics, but there are times when prioritizing one’s own domestic public opinion risks harm.” , Mrs. Meloni said.
French President Macron explained that he wanted to receive Ukrainian President Zelensky along with German Chancellor Scholz for personal reasons.
“I think we are doing our part. Germany and France have had a special role for eight years on the issue (the conflict between Ukraine and Russia) because we have led the process together. I appreciate the forms that President Zelensky chooses for diplomatic negotiations and it is up to him,” Macron said.
A week ago, the economic ministers of France and Germany met in Washington to discuss the consequences of the Inflation Reduction Act introduced by the US. Again, Italy was also not invited.
Speaking to the Corriere della Sera daily, Italy’s Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said: “We were not informed and the incident took us by surprise. If Italy had done that, this government would have been accused of being anti-European. We will be on trial.”
In Italy, the opposition also took the opportunity to criticize Ms. Meloni, accusing her of being “isolated” at EU level. Carlo Calenda, leader of the liberal Azione party (member of the European Parliament in the European Innovation group) added: “The sparking of a controversy with France on the day Mr. Showing solidarity is a very serious mistake on the part of Mrs. Meloni.”
According to Francesco Giubilei, president of the conservative Italian think tank Nazione Futura (Future Nation), a separate Franco-German approach to Ukraine would weaken the entire EU.
“The consequences will be negative for everyone, including the French, who have split the European line many times. Without Italy, the country plays a strategic role in other international scenarios. each other, the EU will get nowhere,” Giubilei said.
When the conflict broke out, Mr. Macron was criticized for several phone calls with the Russian side without first consulting with his EU partners.
However, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani sought to calm the situation, insisting that Italy “does not feel isolated”. “We feel we are the protagonists in the struggle for Ukraine,” he stressed, noting that this war is not against the Russian people. Mr. Tajani said the commitment of the Italian government is to ensure Ukraine’s independence.