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Italian PM thanks Merkel for shaping EU's future

Rome, Oct 8 (IANS) Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi thanked Angela Merkel for playing a "decisive role" in shaping the future of the European Union (EU) during the latter's final visit to Rome as the German Chancellor.

His remarks came at the conclusion of what likely was Merkel's last official meeting with Italy's top officials, as she prepares to leave the position as soon as a new German federal government is formed following the recent parliamentary elections, reports Xinhua news agency.

"I thank the Chancellor on behalf of the government and myself personally for the decisive role she has had in designing the future of Europe" over the past 16 years, Draghi said at a joint press conference here on Thursday.

In turn, Merkel noted that Draghi had played an essential role in safeguarding the euro.

"I believe the euro symbolises our (EU) unity, therefore no effort has to be spared to further strengthen and develop it and there is still much to be done in this field," she told reporters.

Merkel's talks with Draghi touched on other issues, such as the goals of the G20, whose rotating presidency is held by Italy this year; the need to boost Covid-19 vaccine supplies across the world; and the situation in Afghanistan, on which Germany and Italy hold the same position.

The two leaders also discussed climate change and environment protection in view of the major UN Climate Change Conference (or COP26) to be held in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12.