The Italian prime minister highlighted how the treaty will strengthen cooperation in the area of defense.
“To be sovereign, Europe needs to know how to defend its borders. We need to create a real defense,″ Draghi told journalists.
Pope Francis and Macron met privately in the pope’s library before exchanging gifts. A video released by the Vatican showed that when the president asked the 84-year-old pope how he was doing, Francis replied: “I’m still alive,” according to Reuters.
The French president gave the pope a historic first edition of the biography of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Giovanni Pietro Maffei published in 1585, as well as a modern biography of the Jesuit founder by François Sureau, a member of the Académie Française.
Macron’s Vatican meeting took place a little over a month after French Prime Minister Jean Castex’s Oct. 18 meeting with Pope Francis in which Castex gifted the pope a jersey signed by Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, along with an 1836 edition of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Following his meeting with the pope, Macron also met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
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Earlier this year, Macron visited Iraq for a trip that followed a similar itinerary to Pope Francis’ Iraqi visit, including a meeting with Iraqi Christians at a Catholic church in Mosul that was heavily damaged by the Islamic State.
The French president also met in Baghdad with Iraqi Nobel Prize laureate Nadia Murad, two days after she met with the pope at the Vatican.
After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Macron echoed Pope Francis’ call for debt relief for the world’s poorest countries.
Macron previously visited the Vatican in 2018 for a conversation that touched on Europe’s migrant crisis.
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