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  4. Italian PM Meloni's 'death stare' at Macron goes viral, 'less-than-friendly' handshake puzzles netizens

Italian PM Meloni's 'death stare' at Macron goes viral, 'less-than-friendly' handshake puzzles netizens

Italy and France clashed over the inclusion of abortion rights in the G7 final communique, and Meloni ultimately prevailed. Macron said Italy did not have the "same sensibilities", and Meloni accused him of scoring political points ahead of a national election in France.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Rome Published on: June 15, 2024 17:04 IST
Italy's Giorgia Meloni with France's Emmanuel Macron
Image Source : REUTERS Italian PM Giorgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron

While the budding friendship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni is making headlines, possible tensions between Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron surfaced yesterday during the high-profile G7 Summit in Italy with a viral image on social media. The Italian PM was seen giving a bone-chilling 'death stare' to Macron, accompanied by a 'not-so-friendly' handshake.

The tense encounter between Meloni and Macron appeared in sharp contrast between her and PM Modi, who shared a selfie after the G7 Outreach Summit and posted a video for all #Melodi fans on the internet. Meloni said, "Hello from the Melodi team" in an apparent reference to the viral meme showing the growing bonhomie between the two leaders.

On the other hand, another video showed Meloni giving a 'death stare' at the French President, apparently rolling her eyes at Macron and giving a less-than-friendly handshake. Meloni and Macron had reportedly clashed over the language at the G7 final communique regarding abortion rights.

Netizens were left puzzled by the encounter, with many speculating that Meloni does not like Macron, and who could blame them? "If looks could kill," said one user, while another commented, "That look of disgust for Macron is palpable."

Tensions between Meloni and Macron

A diplomatic spat indeed occurred between Italy and France over the inclusion of abortion rights in the G7 communique, when Meloni accused Macron of seeking to score political points ahead of a national election in France. Ultimately, Meloni prevailed against French pressure as the final draft had no mention of abortion, sparking criticism of watering down support for LGBTQ rights.

The draft removed specific references in the 2023 communique on the importance of "access to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care" as Italy said there was no need to repeat the language. Meloni, who is against abortion, has repeatedly vowed to combat what she calls an LGBTQ lobby and gender ideology. The Italian parliament is currently debating a bill to criminalise surrogacy done abroad.

Diplomats said France and Canada had sought to strengthen the language on abortion rights, but failed to get it past the Italians.  Macron later said he regretted the decision to omit the word abortion. "You don't have the same sensibilities in your country," Macron told an Italian reporter on Thursday. "France has a vision of equality between women and men, but it’s not a vision shared by all the political spectrum."

However, Meloni told reporters: "I think it is profoundly wrong, in difficult times like these, to campaign (for an election) using a precious forum like the G7." Notably, abortion is a major focus of Biden's 2024 reelection campaign, as Democrats seek to motivate voters concerned about worsening medical care for women since the overturning of the 1973 Roe v Wade precedent that gave the constitutional right to abortion.

(with inputs from Reuters)

ALSO READ | 'Hello from the Melodi team': Italy PM Meloni tweets video with PM Modi | WATCH

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