Italy and France commit to stop conflict over immigration

(AGI) Milan, June 21 - The chill between Italy and France overimmigrants thawed on the first day of summer, during a sunnyday in Milan. French President Francois Hollande arrived at theMilan Expo on a Lancia Thema official car, where he was greetedby Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. They exchanged a longembrace, revealing a renewed harmony between the two leaders.Their first statements during the joint press conference wereon immigration and Greece. "Relations between France and Italyare good from every possible perspective," said Mr Hollandewhile answering a question by an Italian journalist. After

(AGI) Milan, June 21 - The chill between Italy and France overimmigrants thawed on the first day of summer, during a sunnyday in Milan. French President Francois Hollande arrived at theMilan Expo on a Lancia Thema official car, where he was greetedby Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. They exchanged a longembrace, revealing a renewed harmony between the two leaders.Their first statements during the joint press conference wereon immigration and Greece. "Relations between France and Italyare good from every possible perspective," said Mr Hollandewhile answering a question by an Italian journalist. Afterspecifying that "France has not closed its borders", he added:"The issue on the agenda of the next European Council meetingwill have to be what each country must do to act humanely andrespect the dignity of human people." It is necessary to putaside the quota system and put in place a different mechanism,Hollande said. This statement pleased Mr Renzi who, on the eveof the meeting, had expressed his hope to hear his Frenchcounterpart mention the word "solidarity". Mr Renzi said he wasoptimistic that an agreement could be reached on the issue ofimmigration: "Prevalence must be given to solidarity andresponsibility, without hysterical reactions and egoisms of anysort. There's no need to show muscle. The problem of immigrantscannot be tackled by saying that it only concerns a singlecountry. On this point, France and Italy are on the sameposition." The European Council meeting will take place onThursday and, in addition to dealing with the issue ofimmigrants, another point on the agenda is likely to be theGreek crisis, especially if tomorrow's summit were to finishempty-handed. Mr Hollande said he was neither optimistic norpessimistic, adding that Greece is now on the right track andmust only make an additional effort. Mr Renzi explained: "Asfar as I see it, while awaiting tomorrow's summit, I thinkthere are all the conditions necessary to reach a win-winsolution." Of course, it will be difficult to find a compromisebetween the requests of creditors and Greece's willingness tomeet them if Tsipras refuses to cut back the welfare system.Hollande and Renzi acknowledged these difficulties and saidthey were ready to lend a hand to avoid the risk of default,which would lead Greece to exit the eurozone. In any case, MrRenzi reiterated that even if Athens were obliged to call adefault, there would be no risk of contagion for Italy. . .