Working together to take Europe forward

Chancellor visits Rome Working together to take Europe forward

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, tensions in international trade, the importance of the Western Balkans – these and other topics were on the agenda when Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome. It was the Chancellor’s first visit to Italy since Giuseppe Conte took office.

Chancellor Angela Merkel in conversation with Giuseppe Conte, Italy's Prime Minister

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte - close bilateral relations link Germany and Italy

Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins

"We have the major responsibility to take Europe forward and ensure it remains competitive. Both Italy and Germany are working on this with our partners," declared Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome.

Working together to master Brexit

"I believe we have managed to collaborate well on shaping the painful process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union," the Chancellor continued. She said they would be working to ensure that the European Union and the UK continue to cooperate closely in future.

Working for a multilateral trading order

Angela Merkel praised the close bilateral relations that exist between Germany and Italy and called for the partnership to be further stepped up. This also applies to economic cooperation between the two countries, she said. We can see, she cautioned, "the international tensions over trade are also affecting our economy". The Chancellor thus declared, "We must do all we can to maintain a multilateral, rules-based trading order. And that is precisely what our two countries are working for."

Making industry fit for the future

In view of the current challenges, including those facing the steel industry, it is important to cooperate on the technologies of the future, said Angela Merkel. This is an area in which ministries of research and economic affairs in Germany and Italy could seek solutions together. In this context she also pointed to "the expansion in the use of renewables, and the overall transformation in conjunction with climate action".

Bringing the Western Balkan states closer to the EU

Germany and Italy also have "the same strategic vision" with regard to the importance of the Western Balkan states. We must continue to work for accession negotiations to be opened with North Macedonia and Albania, said the Chancellor. "If we, the European Union, leave a vacuum, other forces will rapidly be able to gain ground, and that is not in the strategic interests of the European Union."

Stemming the root causes of displacement, supporting Africa

Germany and Italy also agree on the need to address the root causes of displacement and migration. "We share the same vision that only economic development in African states can give the many young people there prospects of a better future," stressed Angela Merkel. In this context, she announced that Giuseppe Conte would be attending the "Compact with Africa" High-Level Conference next week in Berlin.

On 19 November a "Compact with Africa" High-Level Conference will be held in Berlin. The Compact with Africa was initiated under Germany’s G20 Presidency. Under the "Compact with Africa" Germany and Africa committed to a long-term partnership of equals.