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Italy, Germany have 'strategic' relationship, says German envoy


Rome, Feb 27 (IANS/AKI) Italy and Germany have "strategic" ties, are two key countries for Europe and the chemistry between their two leaders can help them tackle the "common challenges" of our times, the German envoy to Italy said on Wednesday.
"Italy and Germany's relationship is a strategic one.
"Meetings between the two leaders (Italy's Premier Giuseppe Conte and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel) are frequent and intense, they are close and understand each other well," German Ambassador Viktor Elbling told AKI Live.
Given the leading roles played by Germany and Italy in Europe, such mutual understanding between their leaders bodes well, he said.
"It's clear that many European issues need to be solved together and the fact that they are close and 'get' each other's personalities, is a good sign," he added.
"Italy and Germany are two countries which are essential for Europe and we need to be aware that we are part of the same family and to be united," Elbling underlined.
Italy and Germany, like all individual countries, are "small fry" in a globalised world and it would be a "huge" mistake to think they can go it alone, he argued.
"We are small fry in this globalised world. To try and compete against other states and much bigger economies is a huge mistake. We must resolve our differences, which are minor when compared to what we have in common," Elbling said.
The German envoy also said that Italy and France - both founder members of the European Union along with Germany - are physically close to each other, have "vast common interests" and are bound by ties of friendship.
"As Europeans, we always want good cooperation between European Union countries," Elbling said after the return to Italy on February 15 of France's envoy Christian Masset following the worst diplomatic rift between the two countries since World War II.
"This historic triangle has over time given us much stability in the construction of Europe and I believe it will be essential in future," Elbling added.
Masset was recalled to Paris for consultations on February 7 amid a major diplomatic row fuelled by Italy's Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio's meeting in Paris on February 5 with members of the 'yellow vests' protest movement.
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman called the meeting "unacceptable" and said Masset's recall followed months of "unfounded attacks" from Di Maio and his co-Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini, who have heavily criticised President Emmanuel Macron's economic and migration policies.
Di Maio said his Paris meeting with the yellow vests was "fully legitimate" but underlined that France was Italy's "friend and ally".

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First Published: Feb 27 2019 | 11:42 PM IST

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