A gulf between Italy and Germany on the question of illegal immigration raised its head at a meeting between the presidents of the two countries.
Giorgio Napolitano and Christian Wulff held a question and answer session with students.
The two, who play largely ceremonial roles in their countries affairs, agreed that Greece needs more time to get to grips with its mountainous debt.
But on immigration they were poles apart.
Giorgio Napolitano said: ‘I respect the principal of the subsidiarity of individual EU states. But issues like immigration won’t be resolved on a local level. The EU needs to act more decisively and more quickly.’
Tens of thousands of illegal migrants have been descending on the Italian island of Lampedusa in recent months bound for Europe from north Africa.
Germany’s Christian Wulff said that it is not an issue for the EU, but a problem for Italy to solve alone.