Inflection point. Important stop. Pedro Sánchez visits Rome this Wednesday as part of the mini-tours that he is leading through Europe to prepare for the Spanish presidency of the EU in the second half of the year. First meeting with Giorgia Meloni, Italian Prime Minister, since she came to power. Premiere of relations with an ultra-right government. Different political visions, with the migration issue as one of the major core issues: Meloni’s hard position, contrary to the reception of migrants, in the face of open incentives, solidarity and responsibility that the Spanish government demands.

Meloni’s coming to power left the Spanish government in expectation. It was not his choice, they harbored misgivings, but once his promotion was consummated, they wanted to see what path and positions he adopted. The Italian prime minister broke into Spanish national politics starring in a fiery Vox rally in Marbella, in the campaign of the last Andalusian elections, with very harsh approaches. Sánchez has made the fight against Vox, and the identification of the PP with the extreme right, one of the late motives for her struggle with Alberto Núñez Feijóo.

In La Moncloa they admit that the harmony is not and cannot be like the one that Sánchez has with other European leaders, because it is an ultra-right government and because they are not from the same political family, but they defend that Spain-Italy relations are more beyond specific situations and that it is a solid relationship in aspects such as political, economic, diplomatic and cultural…

Of course, in principle there will be no possibility of asking both leaders about that relationship because after their meeting they will star in an appearance without questions from the press. Government sources explain that the Italian executive has so ruled, since Meloni is not usually exposed to press conferences.

From these distanced positions, they defend in La Moncloa the need and interest of the country to maintain relations with such an important strategic partner. They also have the impression in the presidential complex that Meloni has opted to relax his positions and that his arrival has not led to a rupture within the EU on matters such as the European agenda or the war in Ukraine. If a comparison is drawn with Salvini, sources in the Executive consider that Meloni’s positions are less radical or, in any case, that he has tended to relax them due to his coming to power.

It is the vision of superimposing the structural relationship between the two countries to the current leadership. But the appointment serves to confront very distant models and positions on matters such as migration. The Government trusts that during its presidency of the EU it will be possible to advance, if not close, the Migration and Asylum Pact, a task that is not easy given the remote positions of the countries. Italy presents a tough position, in fact, the transalpine government has recently approved a decree that limits maritime rescues of migrants and that, among other aspects, establishes the assignment of more distant ports for their disembarkation. An initiative that the Spanish government disapproves of.

Spanish government sources defend that their purpose is to work to try to unite a consensus, although it is assumed that it is a complex and sensitive matter, hard to work on and, even, they see it as more feasible to renew the European energy market than an immigration pact. Spain is clear about its axes regarding migration and the reception of migrants: positive incentives -working on the relationship with the countries of origin-, and a balance between solidarity and responsibility that includes the humanitarian side. That is, if the people involved in a rescue or rescue operation must be welcomed. They appeal to the fact that Italy, like Spain, is a European country of first entry. But Italy is committed to a strong hand and negative incentives to stop these flows. This first meeting will serve to test to what extent it is possible to find common positions.

Sánchez visits Rome without setting objectives. He will transfer to Meloni the need to reach the broadest possible consensus and that the humanitarian side must prevail. He wants to hear how the Italian prime minister can concede and from what positions she is not going to budge. Because the President of the Government, in these tours that he is leading through Europe, seeks to pave the way for his presidency of the EU to avoid problems or failures in matters as transcendental as the migration pact or fiscal rules.

In addition to Italy, Sánchez has visited Cyprus and Malta on this tour, also Mediterranean countries. In both countries the issue of migration has been another of the key issues on the table. With the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, and the Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abela, there is more harmony.

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