UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday called on new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to visit Berlin “as soon as possible.”
A German government statement said that Merkel, in a telephone conversation with Conte, congratulated him on his appointment as prime minister of Italy and wished him success in the tasks ahead.
“Both sides stressed the importance of strengthening close relations between Germany and Italy,” the statement added.
The telephone conversation between Merkel and Conte comes at a time when observers expect relations between Rome and Berlin to be strained in the coming period, after the arrival of a populist government in Italy, which opposes existing institutions, the euro area and the European Union.
In an interview with a German newspaper, Merkel confirmed her willingness to cooperate with Conti on the basis of mutual trust, expressing her conviction that “the results of any elections and any democratically elected government deserve respect.”