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

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