Trudeau meets Italian PM Meloni in Toronto, pair agrees to 'roadmap' for cooperation

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni in Toronto on Saturday, where the pair said they agreed to establish the Canada-Italy Roadmap for Enhanced Cooperation.

The two prime ministers issued a joint statement saying the agreement will further deepen their countries' political, economic and strategic ties by setting out plans to collaborate over the next three to five years in priority areas.

Those include energy security and the shift to a sustainable energy future, climate change and biodiversity, migration, sustainable economic growth, and research and innovation, including artificial intelligence.

The two G-7 members plan to review progress on the development of the roadmap at a meeting this June in Italy.

Speaking in front of reporters before heading behind closed doors, Trudeau commended Meloni’s leadership as Italy presides over this year's G7 summit, , adding he is looking forward to working with her to set up Canada’s term as host in 2025.

Trudeau says Canada and Italy are “aligned on so many things” and have a “very deep and growing economic relationship.”

The two got into a public spat last year after Trudeau criticized Italy's stance on LGBTQ2S+ issues in a meeting with Meloni at the G7 leaders' summit. He was reacting to her government's move to limit the recognition of parental rights to only the biological parent in families with same-sex parents.

Meloni later rejected the criticism and said Trudeau had fallen victim to fake news.

On Saturday, Meloni touted a number of her priorities leading the G7, including artificial intelligence, the role of the Indo-Pacific and respecting the international rule-based order.

She also highlighted support for Ukraine and “this very difficult Middle East crisis,” where she said it’s important to avoid escalation.

“We are beginning a new year of our relationship trying to enhance our cooperation and I think there are many, many topics on which we can do that,” Meloni said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2024.

Sammy Hudes, The Canadian Press