Italy, France Leaders Meet Despite War of Words Over Open Borders

Migrant crisis on the menu as Macron meets Italian leader

PARIS (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron and new Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte meet Friday amid tensions between the two countries over migration.

Conte, who heads a populist government, will have a working lunch with the pro-European Macron at the Elysee palace. They will then hold a joint news conference.

Macron’s office said the discussions will focus on migrant-related issues and other major European topics ahead of an EU summit at the end of the month.

A feud was triggered this week by Macron’s tough assessment of Italy’s decision to shut its ports to a rescue ship carrying 629 migrants – he called the Italian government’s behavior “irresponsible.”

Both leaders agreed Thursday to maintain the planned meeting after a phone call they described as cordial.

Macron said he never “meant to offend” Italy.

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