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As Merkel’s departure tests EU, Italy and France seal pact to deepen ties

At a time when EU diplomacy is being tested by Germany’s Angela Merkel’s exit, Italy and France signed a treaty on Friday to boost bilateral ties and strengthen their coordination inside European Union.

In Rome’s Quirinale Palace, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and French President Emmanuel Macron signed the new deal. In a rare feat to commemorate the occasion, jets let out coloured smoke trails in the sky with the flag hues of the two countries

The signing ceremony took place just days after Germany reached an agreement on a new coalition government, ending Merkel’s 16-year reign as Europe’s unchallenged leader.

Both Paris and Rome are eager to expand connections at a period clouded by economic uncertainty, that is, the pandemic, a more aggressive Russia, a rising China and a more disengaged United States. The incoming Berlin administration is expected to be more inward focused, especially at the start of its term.

Macron claimed that the Quirinale Treaty, named after the Italian president’s Roman house, would not jeopardise French-German relations, but rather was complimentary and aimed at boosting European Union connections as a whole.

Among the 15-page document’s goals was a vow to strengthen military links , mainly at the industrial level and also to work together to improve Europe’s defence capabilities.


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