The leaders of Germany, France and Italy will meet on Monday to discuss how to keep the European project together in the second set of talks between the premiers of the euro zone’s three largest economies since Britain’s shock vote to leave the bloc.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on an island off the coast of Naples ahead of September’s EU summit called to discuss reverberations from the Brexit vote.
“They will be coming to discuss how to relaunch Europe from the bottom up, there’s a big need,” Renzi said on Sunday.
“Relaunching Europe is a totally open game but it needs to be played,” he said.
Officials in Brussels and Berlin fear the June 23 vote could lead to a referendum in the Netherlands – a founding member of the union – on whether to also leave the bloc.
“Monday aims to show the unity of Europe’s three biggest countries, but not to create a specific club,” a French diplomatic source said, noting that the aim was to prepare for the groundwork for the forthcoming Bratislava summit.
Faced with existential risks, Merkel wants to cement “a better Europe” rather than forge ahead with “more Europe”. Renzi wants Italy to have a strong voice in how the bloc’s future is shaped after Brexit and, according to the French diplomatic source, Hollande wants an EU-wide investment plan to be doubled.