ROME Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday that he agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement, made after turbulent G7 and NATO meetings last week, that Europe needed to forge its own path forward.
"Italy agrees that Europeans need to take the future into their own hands," Gentiloni said during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Rome.
"This takes nothing away from the importance of our trans-Atlantic ties and our alliance with the United States, but the importance we put on these ties cannot mean that we abandon fundamental principles such as our commitment to fight climate change and in favour of open societies and free trade."
After U.S. President Donald Trump last week, during his first trip to Europe, chided NATO allies for spending too little on defence and refused to back a global climate-change accord, Merkel said on Sunday that Europe had stop relying so much on its allies and tackle the future on its own terms.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Antonella Cinelli)