Since the right-wing Prime Minister Meloni took office in Italy, there have been doubts as to whether the good relations with Germany will continue. During her visit to the federal capital, Chancellor Scholz made it clear: Berlin wants to deepen bilateral relations even with the new government in Rome.
The federal government also wants to continue the close cooperation with the new Italian leadership under the right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Both countries have close ties - politically, economically and culturally, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz after Meloni's first visit to the Chancellery. Meloni, who has governed Rome since the end of October 2022, first visited Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Stockholm today and later traveled to Germany. Scholz received the head of the right-wing party Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) in Berlin in the afternoon with military honors.
Italy is a "land of longing" for many Germans, said the Chancellor. Both governments are determined to continue working closely together. The SPD politician highlighted the unity in supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. "It will stay that way," emphasized the Chancellor. During a visit to Rome in December 2021, Scholz agreed with Meloni's predecessor Mario Draghi to develop an action plan intended to strengthen cooperation between the two countries. Scholz now said that the plan was being worked on intensively in order to complete it quickly.
Meloni has been in office for about three months. The fears that it could pose a threat to European cohesion have not yet been confirmed. During her visit to Berlin, however, she reiterated her tough course to curb migration to Europe. When it comes to responsibility and solidarity, the decision should not be left to the smugglers, she said.
With regard to the topic, Scholz emphasized that those who have a right to stay in Europe must also be able to stay. Europe needs immigration, said the Chancellor, referring to the shortage of skilled workers. The Ministry of the Interior in Rome records tens of thousands of boat migrants arriving in Italy via the Mediterranean every year. However, many of them continue to head north of Europe. According to Meloni's idea, people should already apply for asylum in North Africa, from where they usually set sail, to determine whether they can legally come to Italy.
Scholz described the plan for the transformation of the economy presented by the EU Commission as a basis for the discussions at the upcoming EU summit. Europe must permanently take a leading position in the green transformation, he emphasized. At the same time, the chancellor warned against a global subsidy race, referring to a US subsidy program worth billions for companies manufacturing there.
Meloni spoke out in favor of a more flexible use of EU funds to strengthen the competitiveness of European companies. One solution "would be, for example, full flexibility of the funds already in place," she said. As an example, she cited the money promised as part of the European Corona reconstruction fund.
She also named a jointly financed "sovereignty fund" as a longer-term solution - but she also knows that there are "different attitudes" to this within the EU. Germany and other EU net contributors oppose a new debt-financed program.