Merkel meets Renzi in bid to lay aside Italian, German tensions

Chancellor Angela Merkel meets one of Germany's leading European critics on Friday when she holds talks in Berlin with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Europe's refugee crisis is expected to be the main issue on the agenda, with Renzi having repeatedly warned Italy's European partners for several years about the threat posed by the influx of asylum seekers into the region.

Renzi has also emerged as a major critic of the Europe Union's handling of the banking sector and its budget policy. He has lashed out in particular at the fiscal austerity spearheaded by Merkel as a way of overcoming the region's debt crisis.

Berlin's dominant role in European affairs has also faced sharp criticism from Renzi, who has accused Germany of sidelining Italy on important issues.

"If we are looking for a European solution to the refugee problem, then it is not right that Angela first speaks to Hollande and then calls European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and I only find out about it in the press later," Renzi told the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung this week.

Last update: Fri, 29/01/2016 - 12:04

More from Europe

European Parliament elects Antonio Tajani as its next president

The European Parliament elected centre-right Antonio Tajani of Italy as its next president over fellow Italian...

Report: US and EU make "considerable progress" on TTIP negotiations

The European Union and the United States have made "considerable progress" in negotiating the Transatlantic Trade...

Mediterranean death toll exceeds 200 since January 1, IOM says

At least 219 people have died trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean in the first weeks of 2017, the...

Estonia, Lithuania sign defence deal with US after Trump bashes NATO

Estonia and Lithuania signed bilateral defence agreements with the US, just days after US-president elect Donald...

German artist fined 700 euros for doing push-ups on church altar

A 38-year-old man was fined 700 euros (750 dollars) by a German court on Tuesday for disrupting the practice of...