Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron signed the Treaty of Aachen on Tuesday in the German border city of Aachen as part of efforts by the two EU nations to forge closer economic and defense ties and lead the European Union.
They, by signing the treaty, are “making fun” of Rome as well as the EU, Italian media cited Giuseppe Conte as saying on Friday. “They are only thinking of their [own] national interests,” he added.
Conte warned that Italy will not sit back and remain indifferent to such decisions. “Certainly our allies cannot believe that we will sit silently at the table to underwrite decisions taken by others”.
Following the signing of the treaty, Merkel said, “We want to give an impulse to European unity.”
The two leaders want the 16-page Aachen Treaty, negotiated over the past year to update the 1963 Elysee Treaty, to give an impulse to European unity that has been strained by Brexit, immigration and the Eurozone crisis.
However, experts have their doubts if the Franco-German push for the EU integration could enhance unity among the 28-member bloc’s member states.
“If they succeed, the European Union will surely split into two, as the Eurozone and non-Eurozone go their separate ways in a fundamental disagreement over sovereignty,” Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, said in an article published on Thursday.
On January 22, dozens of “yellow vest” activists gathered in Aachen to protest against the signing of the treaty.
According to local police, the majority of protesters were German citizens demanding cheaper rents and social justice.
Up to 200 representatives of the pro-European citizens’ movement “Pulse of Europe” reportedly participated in the rally.
One of the protesters said that he was “proposing to found a European Republic” with its capital in Aachen. “That is why we took advantage of the occasion to come here and put our proposition forward,” he added.
Merkel and Macron signed the deal on the anniversary of a similar Franco-German cooperation treaty in 1963 by France’s Charles de Gaulle and the German chancellor of the time, Konrad Adenauer.