Monday, January 24

Why it matters. Croatia, Italy: Emmanuel Macron begins a small European tour

Before officially launching into the presidential campaign, Emmanuel Macron is showing himself on the European scene. The head of state makes a stopover this Wednesday in Croatia, before going to Italy, Rome on Friday, where he will be received by Pope Francis. A small tour which will allow him to “prepare for the French presidency of the Council of the European Union” (EU) which begins on January 1 for six months, notes the Elysee.

Sale of Rafales to Croatia

Emmanuel Macron will be present in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, on November 24 and 25 for the first official visit of a French president to the country since the latter’s independence in 1991. This visit “will result in the signing of ‘a strategic partnership and agreement between governments finalizing the supply of Rafale to Croatia, “announced the Elysee.

The Croatian government announced in May the purchase of 12 second-hand Rafale fighter jets to modernize its armed forces, thus embarking on its largest arms order since the Balkan war and independence. Croatia is one of the last two countries in the EU, along with Hungary, where Emmanuel Macron has not yet visited since the start of his five-year term.

Meeting with the Pope in Rome and signing of a treaty

Emmanuel Macron will then meet Pope Francis in Rome on November 26. This is the second visit of the French president to the Pope since the start of his five-year term after that of June 2018. This meeting will take place as the Catholic Church is going through a difficult period in France after the shocking revelations of the Sauvé commission which has estimated, in its report published in October, at 330,000 the number of people over 18 years of age who have been subjected to sexual violence since 1950, when they were minors, by clerics, religious or people related to the ‘Church.

In Rome, where he will arrive on November 25, the president will also sign with Italian leaders the Quirinal Treaty, “which will promote the convergence of French and Italian positions, as well as the coordination of the two countries in matters of European and foreign policy, of security and defense, migration policy, economy, education, research, culture and cross-border cooperation, “said the Elysee.

This treaty “will create a Franco-Italian reflex”, declared the French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune last week during a visit to a Parisian high school with his Italian counterpart, Vincenzo Amendola. “Maybe that’s what was missing because since we think the same thing, we think we don’t need to work together.” Vincenzo Amendola for his part hailed a “relationship of symbiosis between France and Italy which has served the European Union”.

After a tense period when the boss of the League, Matteo Salvini, was Minister of the Interior, relations between the two “Latin sisters” clearly calmed down with the coming to power of Mario Draghi in February. As a reminder, the Quirinal Treaty (name of the seat of the Italian presidency) was announced in 2017, on the model of the Franco-German treaty.

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