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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pope Francis receives Macron in full tension with Italy for immigration

Por Nina

In full tension with the new Italian government, French President Emmanuel Macron was in Rome on Tuesday, but not to meet the leader of the new Executive, Giuseppe Conte. Macron has traveled to the Italian capital to meet Pope Francis on his first official visit to the Holy See since he arrived at the Elysée last year, where he arrived with a convoy of thirty official and security cars and even an ambulance. The meeting of the president, a declared agnostic, seeks to be a gesture towards the French Catholic community, associated with the most right-wing sectors of the secular country.

The meeting took place in the Tronetto room, the anteroom of the Vatican library, the place where the Pontiff usually meets the Heads of State and Government. The meeting has been the most cordial, as they let glimpse the images of the allowed media. Macron has been accompanied by his wife, Brigitte Macron, and they have exchanged several smiles and gestures with Bergoglio. The climate of absolute cordiality has been reflected in the duration of the meeting: 57 minutes, more than with the American president Donald Trump (30 minutes), than with his predecessor, François Hollande (35), and until with the former president of EE. UU Barack Obama (50). During the time that journalists were allowed to attend, they could see how Macron gave Francisco an old edition of Georges Bernanos' Diary of a Rural Cure, which the Pope said he had read many times, and the pontiff gave him the medallion that represents San Martin de Tours, patron saint of Buenos Aires and who gave his cloak to the poor. "He wants to underscore the vocation of the rulers to help the poor, because we are all poor," he reminded him.

It was expected that during the meeting, of a private nature, they will address the migration issue that this week the European leaders will address in a key summit for the future of the EU. The Italian Government has been very critical in recent days with the French government, whom it has come to call "hypocrite" and "cynical" for its "lessons" in the Aquarius crisis. At a press conference in Rome after his visit to Libya, the far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, said on Monday that Macron is "more evil" than the Hungarian premier, Viktor Orbán, because he must still accept more than 9,000 migrants from Italy in his state. Salvini, who declares himself very Catholic and has come to appear in rallies with a rosary, has indicated his intention to visit the Pope soon, but for the moment no meeting is planned.

However, Macron will not visit Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. But the French president, who has always defined himself as an agnostic, will use the visit to send a clear message to Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Italian government, about his plans for the future and the new European alliances. The tension has reached unusual heights in recent weeks. The leader of the 5 Star Movement (M5S) and vice president of Italy, Luigi di Maio, said on Sunday that Macron is today Italy's number one enemy. The reality is that the new Government has not yet made any official visit to the Holy Father, despite the fact that Matteo Salvini announced his intention to do so a few days ago and received the silence for an answer.

According to a communiqué issued by the Press Office of the Holy See, the topics discussed during the meeting were the protection of the environment, migration and commitment at the multilateral level for the prevention and resolution of conflicts, especially in relation to disarmament. In addition, they have also exchanged views on some developing conflicts, particularly those that are developing in the Middle East and Africa. Finally, they have also talked about the prospects of the European project. The official visit to the Vatican also includes the assistance of President Macron to the Basilica of San Juan de Letran, where he will take possession of the Proto-Canonical title of Honor of the Lateranense Chapter, thus fulfilling the tradition originated in the XVII century that grants this privilege to the Heads of State of France, first to their kings and then to the presidents of the Republic.