PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron praised his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella on Monday, saying he was fulfilling his role as the guarantor of the country's institutions with "courage and responsibility."
"I reiterate my friendship and support for President Mattarella who has an essential task to undertake, (ensuring) the institutional and democratic stability of his country, which he is doing with a lot of courage and responsibility," Macron said.
The Italian leader rejected a eurosceptic nominee for economy minister on Sunday which led to the collapse of a government put forward by a populist alliance comprising the far-right League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
Despite facing calls for impeachment, Mattarella named a caretaker prime minister on Monday, Carlo Cottarelli, putting the country on course for new elections.
Macron, a pro-Europe centrist, is watching Italy's unfolding political crisis closely, aware that his plans for deepening the European Union depend largely on a stable and like-minded government emerging in Rome.
"Italy is an important partner for France at every level: a historic partner, a present partner and a future partner, that we respect and that we need for our European projects, as well as our bilateral relationship which is fundamental," Macron added.
He was speaking at a press conference with Angolan President Joao Lourenco who was making his first official visit to France.