German, Italian leaders talk on energy security, migration

Rome, Jun 9 (IANS): Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz talked here about energy security, policies on migration, European stability and growth.

It was Scholz' first visit to Rome since Meloni became Italy's Prime Minister eight months ago. The two leaders met on Thursday over lunch behind closed doors at the Palazzo Chigi - the official seat of Italy's government, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to a statement issued by the Italian government, the leaders agreed to cooperate on improving energy security, including increasing the efficiency of industry, locking in alternate sources of natural gas and speeding up the development of renewable energy sources.

On immigration issue, Meloni said the two leaders had a "constructive dialogue." "We hope that we can meet halfway and defend the interests of all nations," she added.

Italy, which is Europe's top landing spot for asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East, has been lobbying other European leaders to come up with a united stance to help defray migration costs and to help settle arrivals.

"I am convinced that reaching a solution is a priority, but I also think it is important to give attention to the claims of the countries that are the most under pressure," Meloni said.

On the economics, Meloni said they agreed that it was necessary to introduce more flexible rules on the European Stability Pact, which sets limits for government budget deficits and public debt measures as a percentage of gross domestic product.

"On the stability and growth pact we agree that the old rules ... (are) outdated and new rules must be sought," Meloni was quoted as saying in the statement.



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