Paris warms up to Italy after remarks against Meloni on migration
French Prime Minister says that Italy is an important partner to France and calls for calm dialogue.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Friday that Italy is an "essential partner," to Paris, calling on calm dialogue with Rome in attempts to scale down recent tensions with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
The Italian foreign minister canceled a visit to Paris on Thursday after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that Meloni is "incapable" of addressing Italy's migration crisis.
"Italy is an essential partner to France... our relationship is founded on mutual respect," Borne said late Friday.
"We will prioritize consultation and calm dialogue to continue to work together," she added.
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A spokesperson for the French government, Olivier Veran, said earlier that "there was no desire from the interior minister to ostracise Italy in any way at all".
"We have discussions with the Italians -- they love politics -- but they want to do things their own way, and they want others to let them," he told Cnews channel.
"And that's good because we don't intend to do otherwise."
Darmanin's remarks have caused outrage in Rome, Italian media reported on Friday, adding that Meloni is considering canceling a planned trip to Paris where she is scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani described Darmanin's words on Thursday as a "a stab in the back."
The foreign minister added during an interview that he is waiting for him to "apologize to the prime minister, the government, and Italy."
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An apology is "the least that they can do," Tajani said again on Friday, reaffirming his previous position.
The French spox remarks are "gratuitous and vulgar insult towards a friendly and allied country," the foreign minister added in another interview with an Italian newspaper.
The centrist French government under President Emmanuel Macron has grappled repeatedly with far-right Italian cabinets in recent years over migration.
The most recent flare-up of hostilities occurred in November of last year when Meloni resisted allowing a ship carrying 230 migrants for humanitarian reasons to dock in Italy.
The ship was allowed to dock in France, but Paris slammed Rome's "unacceptable" behavior and suspended plans to receive 3,500 migrants from Italy.
At the time, Meloni criticized France's response as "aggressive" and "unjustified".
Relations have since improved, with Macron and Meloni meeting in Brussels in March for negotiations, only for them to possibly take a downturn now after the Minister's statements.