Italy, France Deepen Cooperation 11/27 08:50
ROME (AP) -- Italian Premier Mario Draghi said that a bilateral treaty
signed on Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron to strengthen bilateral
cooperation would in turn strengthen the European Union, including such areas
as defense, aerospace and technology.
The treaty deepens cooperation "in crucial sectors, from security to
justice, from research to industry,'' Draghi told a press conference.
That includes spending to create "a true European defense" that Draghi said
"obviously is complementary to NATO" and doesn't substitute the alliance.
"To be sovereign, Europe needs to know how to defend its borders. We need to
create a real defense,'' he said.
Draghi also cited the intent to strengthen investments in such key sectors
as semiconductors, as the global supply chain is hard hit by shortages from
Asia, as well as in more sustainable energy sources, as countries seek to slow
the pace of global warming.
The two countries also signed an agreement on space launchers that will
increase European competitiveness, consolidating Italian-French cooperation for
future Ariane 6 and Vega 6 launchers, according to a separate statement.
Macron said the agreement does not substitute France's longtime friendship
with Germany, which has been considered key to economic prosperity and security
in postwar Europe. But he said the two friendships are different.
"In France, we say that when things get complicated with Germany, we turn
toward Italy,'' Macron said.
Among the treaty's provisions is the creation of a Franco-Italian civil
service and operation center to support law enforcement. In addition, a
minister from one country will attend a Cabinet meeting of the other every
"Beyond consolidating bilateral relations, the agreement intends to
encourage and accelerate the process of European integration,'' Draghi said.
Macron also met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for an hour, and gave him
two biographies of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of Francis' Jesuit
order, the Vatican said.
Macron's office, which noted the audience was only scheduled for 30 minutes,
said the two men discussed the need to ensure vaccine distribution to all,
climate change, migration and the situation in Lebanon, among other topics.
The talks pointed to "a true convergence of views both on global challenges
and on regional crises threatening to destabilize the rest of the world," the
Elysee Palace said in a statement.