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Germany

German-Italian Ties on the Mend

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be meeting in the Italian city of Verona on August 23 for the first time since relations between the two countries nose-dived last month. Schröder will be visiting the famous Verona music festival on the invitation of EU Commission President Romano Prodi. Last month Berlusconi antagonized the Germans when he likened a German member of the EU parliament to a Nazi concentration camp guard. Relations soured further after a junior Italian minister made disparaging comments about German tourists, following which Schröder canceled his summer vacation to Italy. But in a sign that ties may be improving, Berlusconi recently told an Italian tabloid, "I almost feel like a German," while Schröder told Italian journalists at the Locarno film festival, "I love Italy, yes, it is love. I’m completely fascinated by your country."