France, Italy finance chiefs seek more business cooperation

The French and Italian finance chiefs are urging cooperation to make European businesses more competitive globally, seeking to mend ties after a damaging diplomatic standoff

PARIS -- The French and Italian finance chiefs are urging cooperation to make European businesses more competitive globally, seeking to mend ties after a damaging diplomatic standoff.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday, "we need to rise above the disagreements we had in the past weeks to move forward. China and the US are not going to wait for us." He criticized nationalist politicians who claim European countries are better off on their own.

Le Maire spoke after meeting Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, who also called for European industrial cooperation.

However, they announced no breakthroughs on a high-speed rail tunnel through the Alps that has exposed the challenges of cross-border coordination. Tria expressed hope for a "positive outcome" of the debate within Italy's populist government coalition over the Turin-Lyon High-Speed Train tunnel link.