Franco-Italian relations from the Triple Alliance of 1882 to the Franco-Italian commercial agreement of 1898



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In 1881 France and Italy signed a commercial treaty which indicated some community of interest between them, but after the French seizure of Tunis in 1881 and Italy’s alliance with Germany and Austria in 1882 the two nations appeared to be in opposite camps. Since England still followed her policy of “splendid isolation,� France still found itself isolated. In spite of the new political arrangement, however, commercial relations between the two Mediterranean neighbors remained unchanged until 1886 when Italy denounced the treaty of 1881. Though the two nations began negotiations for a new treaty, in February 1888 through 1896, France refused to extend any credit or to begin negotiating a commercial treaty unless there were parallel political agreements. Several times between 1886 and 1896 relations between France and Italy deteriorated to the extent that other European nations worried about being drawn into a war on their account. Disagreements in other areas, especially over colonies in North Africa, aggravated the already tense relations between the two Latin nations. Since Italy continued to renew the Triple Alliance in 1887, 1891 and 1896, France realized that Italy would not break with the Central Powers and she would have to seek some compromise. Italy, during this same period, found she could not adequately replace French credit and Markets, and the costly demands of the Triple Alliance and colonial expansion in North Africa had made their loss felt all the more. To revitalize her economy, Italy like France realized she must make some compromise with France. Though various incidents postponed efforts at times, from early 1896 through 1898 representatives of both nations worked to bring about a commercial agreement. Political relations between France and Italy were so involved with economic relations that when differences had been resolved enough to bring about the commercial treaty of November 1898, political rapprochement was also nearly accomplished as is borne out by the Franco-Italian agreement of June 1902.



Commerical treaty, France and Italy, Foreign relations, commerical relations