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Emmanuel Macron and Giuseppe Conte talk migration policy in Rome

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By Euronews
Emmanuel Macron and Giuseppe Conte talk migration policy in Rome
Copyright  REUTERS/Remo Casilli

French President Emmanuel Macron met with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday.

Macron is the first EU leader to visit Rome since the new government took office.

Conte's new coalition government with the Democratic Party was confirmed by the Italian Parliament just last week.

The key issue the leaders discussed was migration.

Macron said that the policy on asylum seekers and migration needed more humanity, solidarity and efficiency.

"We are collectively inefficient at protecting those who have the right to seek asylum and to be able to send back those who do not have the right," Macron said at the press conference.

Conte said they wanted to find a way to make the EU "more social, safer, more environmentally friendly" and "stronger in the world".

The leaders also spoke about the conflict in Libya.

Macron said they shared the conviction that the solution can only be found by "political compromise and discussion".

Macron tweeted after his meeting with Conte on Wednesday: "The Franco-Italian friendship is indestructible. Sometimes we do not agree. Sometimes we fight or we don't understand each other. But we always come back together."

Relations were tense between the two countries under the previous coalition government that included Matteo Salvini's far-right League party with the Five Star Movement.

Salvini took a hardline stance on migration, in particular, banning rescue ships from entering Italian waters.

Just back in February, Macron recalled France's ambassador to Italy over what the foreign ministry called "provocations" from Italy. That included a meeting between Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio and the French "yellow vest" protestors.

Macron's meetings on Wednesday were largely seen as a reset of Franco-Italian relations.

Macron also met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday evening.

Courtesy of Presidential Palace/Paolo Giandotti/Handout via REUTERS

Watch our full report in the video player above.