Mattarella in Paris at Macron’s, between culture and diplomacy

An exhibition. And much more. There is so much in the exhibition that the Louvre dedicates to Naples, welcoming numerous masterpieces from the Capodimonte museum. There is culture first of all. There is tourism, diplomacy, but above all friendship. Like the one between the two presidents. A long and consolidated relationship between Sergio Mattarella and Emmanuel Macron who, together, inaugurate “Naples à Paris”, an important and significant exhibition scheduled from 7 June until December, with 60 works of art from the Campania capital next door to as many of the Parisian museum.

The exhibition at the Louvre

A unique artistic and cultural moment: it is in fact the first time that the Louvre has dedicated a similar space to another museum. Works, paintings and sculptures by Caravaggio, Titian, Michelangelo and more. And the two presidents next to each other for a joint inauguration and a historic visit in its own way, with Macron who will then host Mattarella at the Elysée, for a private lunch and a note, that of the French presidency, which says so much of the diplomatic feeling between the two. Mattarella will be accompanied to the Louvre by the Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano.

The note from the Elysium

The visit to Paris by Sergio Mattarella and the meeting with Emmanuel Macron “testify to the relationship of trust and friendship between the two presidents and the exceptional ties that unite our two countries”, writes the Elysee. A further certificate of esteem and recognition for the Head of State. Also perhaps in the light of the many misunderstandings of recent years, between the governments of Italy and France, tensions more often than not resolved thanks to the excellent interpersonal relationship between the two.

The tensions between governments and the role of Mattarella

The visit actually comes after an easing in diplomatic relations between the two executives which, between autumn and winter, had become stormy. At the G7 meeting in Hiroshima, however, the French president had had a long conversation with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. No tear, at least recent, to mend, therefore, is hinted at, but the consolidation of a historic alliance between Rome and Paris and between the Quirinale and the Eliseo. Certainly in the past the President of the Republic had to intervene to heal the clash between Italy and France after the support of the then minister Luigi Di Maio for the Yellow Vests had led Paris to recall its ambassador. It was February 2019 and only a phone call between the two presidents had restored the serene. A peaceful culmination with the signing of the Quirinale Treaty in November 2021 by the Draghi government.

Distances on immigration

With the arrival of the Meloni government, the misunderstandings on the subject of migratory flows were then restarted, with French accusations against Italy and new sparks last November, after Roma had not consented to the disembarkation of migrants from the Ocean Viking ship, of the Ong Sos Mediterranée. Also in this circumstance a phone call between Macron and Mattarella served to bring the clash back. Prickling which then went on for weeks by the French ministers, exponents of the Macronian centrist party. Instead, with Prime Minister Meloni who had criticized the choice of the tenant of the Elysée to organize a dinner in February with the Ukrainian president Zelensky and the German chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The Mattarella-Macron relationship

There remains the certainty of the excellent interpersonal relationship created over the years between the two presidents and the awareness that Italy and France can only collaborate intensely, both bilaterally and in Europe. As evidenced by the invitation from Macron who in fact reciprocates the hospitality received last October from Mattarella al Colle. All the main international issues will be on the agenda in the restricted interview, from the war in Ukraine to the issue of immigration, with all its tiring European implications, with the common vision on the need for IMF aid to Tunisia to avoid new waves of flows, up to the negotiation on the new European stability pact. Without neglecting what may be the developments in the balance of power in the Union in the light of the now approaching European elections. Themes, all of them, which will also be discussed with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is visiting Rome next Thursday. The two heads of state, Mattarella and Macron, will also talk about bilateral relations in the light of the Quirinale Treaty which marks enhanced cooperation between Rome and Paris.