Rome: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni met here on Wednesday for talks that covered migration, energy supply and the European Union’s (EU) rules on public debt.
Sanchez stopped over in Italy’s capital on the last leg of his international tour that took him to China last week and to Cyprus and Malta earlier this week.
Spain is preparing to take over the rotating six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1.
Sanchez’s talks with Meloni at Rome’s Palazzo Chigi are notable because the two leaders come from opposite sides of the political spectrum. However, the two leaders found common ground as their countries are two of the EU’s most common landing spots for asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East.
Talking to journalists, Sanchez praised the EU’s recent decision to make the development of a common policy on migration a priority. “It is a step forward that illegal migration has been recognized as a European problem and not just one for Italy or Spain.”
“Italy and Spain are in sync on the fact that Europe has the necessity to deal with certain delicate topics that need an immediate and effective solution … which, particularly for Italy but also for Spain, is the topic of migration,” Meloni said.
Spain and Italy already collaborate on energy supply under the leadership of Meloni’s predecessor, Mario Draghi. On Wednesday, Sanchez and Meloni called for reforming Europe’s energy markets to cushion the blow from supply problems, such as the one caused by the cut-off of Russian natural gas and petroleum.
The leaders also called for EU policy on financial stability to be reformed.
Sanchez said Spain will focus on the “reindustrialization” of Europe’s economies during its EU Council Presidency in order to make the bloc more competitive globally.