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

French president Emmanuel Macron, left, meets Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte during last week's G7 summit in Canada
AFP

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.

.