Home Featured Meloni to visit Paris this week to push Rome’s World Expo candidacy
Meloni to visit Paris this week to push Rome’s World Expo candidacy

Meloni to visit Paris this week to push Rome’s World Expo candidacy

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PARIS — Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will be in Paris on Tuesday to support Rome’s candidacy to host the 2030 World Expo.

The Italian leader will participate to the General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) — the Paris-based institution that oversees World Expos, an official with direct knowledge of the visit told POLITICO. Officials from both countries are currently working to organize a meeting between Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron while the Italian prime minister is in the French capital, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Rome is competing with Riyadh (Saudi Arabia,) Busan (South Korea) and Odessa (Ukraine) to host the 2030 event, but the Ukrainian candidacy has been put on hold given the ongoing war.

Two officials with direct knowledge of the file stressed that Meloni’s goal is not to earn Paris’ support as France already repeatedly declared it would support Riyadh, raising criticisms among other participants.

Earlier this year, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said Brussels would support Rome’s candidacy, hoping that EU countries would do the same.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also in the French capital to promote Riyadh’s candidacy, and already met with Macron on Friday.

The General Assembly is the BIE’s last meeting before a final decision is taken in November, with delegates of the 179 BIE member countries participating in a vote.

This week is set to be decisive for candidates to gather consensus. Leaders and officials from several BIE members will also be in Paris this week to attend a Summit for a New Global Financial Pact organized by Macron, making it an ideal moment for candidates to gather their support.

Candidate countries will each host an event with BIE delegates and government officials in Paris to promote their bid. On Monday, Saudi Arabia will host an event with bin Salman at the Grand Palais Éphémère, a prestigious venue close to the Eiffel Tower. The Italian embassy will host its event with Meloni on Tuesday evening, while Korea will host its event on Wednesday at the Palais des Sports Robert Charpentier, in the outskirts of Paris.

Meloni’s Paris visit comes as Rome and Paris are trying to mend their diplomatic relations after a spat last month, when Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani canceled an official visit to Paris following comments by French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Rome’s migration policy.

Earlier this month, Italian President Sergio Mattarella also visited Paris and met with Macron in a visit perceived as a sign of detente on both sides of the Alps.

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