Angela Merkel says she will ‘miss Emmanuel Macron’
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The French President will sign a “friendship treaty” in Rome later this week between France and Italy, a collaboration originally conceived in 2017 between Mr Macron and former Italian leader Paolo Gentiloni. It will be known as the ‘Quirinal Treaty,’ named after the presidential palace where it will be signed, and recalls a previous treaty from 1963 between France and Germany.
It will have industrial and strategic cooperation between the two European nations at its heart, covering everything from culture to foreign policy.
Lorenzo Fontana, head of foreign policy for nationalist party the League, told Italian media: “Our interest right now is to restart talks with France.”
The treaty had previously met opposition from the League, citing migration as a point of policy incompatibility with France.
The treaty will foster tighter EU bonds ahead of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s departure and a new coalition government soon to take power in Europe’s largest economy.
Following Ms Merkel’s exit, this treaty could herald a greater responsibility for Mr Macron and Mr Draghi on the European political stage.
It may also favour Mr Macron domestically, ahead of presidential elections early next year.
It could, however, pose issues on the business side of the treaty between historically competing industries in the two countries.
This treaty comes after France’s relationship with the UK soured, owing not least to continued disputes over Brexit fishing rights.
France’s principal complaint is that the UK and Jersey have failed to provide an adequate number of fishing licences for French fishermen, threatening the stability of the industry.
Also still stinging for Mr Macron’s government will be the aftertaste of the trilateral security pact announced earlier this year between the UK, USA, and Australia.
Mr Macron denounced the partnership as “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners.”
The deal jeopardised ongoing French and Australian submarine agreements, scrapping the 2016 agreement for the supply of conventional submarines to Australia.
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The submarine deal was worth more than €50 billion, and its cancellation caught the French government by surprise.
The French government withdrew its ambassadors to Canberra and Washington in protest.
France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has called the partnership and its fallout a “serious crisis” between previous allies.
He told French television: “The fact that for the first time in the history of relations between the United States and France we are recalling our ambassador for consultations is a serious political act.”
He added: “It’s a stab in the back.”
“We had established a trusting relationship with Australia, and this trust was betrayed.”
French Minister for Europe, Clément Beaune, dismissed the UK as behaving “opportunistically” on an uncertain, post-Brexit political stage.
He added that the UK was a “junior partner” in the three-power agreement.
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