EU Internal Policy

EU IN CRISIS: Merkel and Hollande hold desperate talks to keep their European dream alive

ANGELA Merkel and Francois Hollande will hold crisis talks tomorrow in a desperate bid to keep the European project together.

Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande

GETTY     Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel will hold crisis talks in Italy tomorrow

The German Chancellor and French Prime Minister will meet with Italian leader Matteo Renzi on Ventotene, a small island off the coast of Naples.They are believed to be worried that Brexit could lead to the break-up of the doomed bloc, starting with an in/out referendum in the Netherlands.

Mr Renzi is eager for even more European integration, but Mrs Merkel has called for “a better Europe” rather than “more Europe”.

An EU diplomat last night said: “The goal must first of all be to preserve the status quo and to prevent a further disintegration of the EU.”Mr Renzi chose to hold the meeting on Ventotene because the island is seen as the birthplace of European federalism.

Two Italian intellectuals jailed on the island during the Second World War wrote a manifesto calling for “the creation of a solid international state”.

Matteo Renzi

GETTY     They will meet with Matteo Renzi on Ventotene, a small island off Naples

Their meeting comes less than a month before a larger summit of 27 EU leaders in Slovakia, to discuss the fallout of June’s dramatic Brexit vote.

Theresa May is not invited to the Bratislava conference, even though Britain will remain a member of the bloc for at least two further years.

Before the EU referendum, top Brussels bosses had expressed fears the bloc could collapse entirely in the wake of a Brexit result.

They voiced concerns a Leave vote would cause Brexit “contagion” by sparking a “domino effect” of other member states looking to quit.

European Council president Donald Tusk even admitted “the spectre of a break-up is haunting Europe”.

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