At G7, Macron, Meloni Meet to Bury Hatchet after Migration Spat

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz walk to a flower wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims in the Peace Memorial Park as part of the G7 Hiroshima Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, 19 May 2023.

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met on Saturday at the Group of Seven nations summit seeking to turn the page after a French minister accused Rome of mishandling an influx of migrants.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in early May that Meloni’s right-wing government had been unable to solve the migration problems on which she was elected and that she had lied to voters that she could end the migrant crisis.

That prompted demands by Rome for an apology.

On Saturday, the two leaders had a 45-minute meeting at the G7. The two looked relaxed and Macron appeared to ask Meloni about the floods which hit the north of her country this week.

She is set to leave the summit in Hiroshima a day earlier to lead the response, sources said.

Briefing reporters, a French presidential official said the two leaders had spoken about Ukraine, but also migration and Tunisia.

“There was a widespread discussion that showed our convergence of views on important questions, notably Ukraine, but also Tunisia,” the official said.

The two agreed that Tunisia needed financial support to stabilize the situation to contain migrant flows northwards, the official said.

In a separate press briefing, Meloni said the meeting with Macron “went well.”

“Italy and France are two leading nations in Europe and are very close on many issues,” she said.