China’s President Xi Jinping and Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte have described the relations between Italy and China as a model for the EU.

Italy was the first European Union founding member and first G7 member nation to sign a memorandum of understanding with China, during Xi’s state visit in Rome last month.

Conte reiterated his satisfaction with the April 25-27 Belt and Road Forum afterword, during a “tourist day” on April 28.

“As I said yesterday to President Xi, I hope I can come back soon. There are so many issues to be looked at in depth, several perspectives of development for new collaborations. I am convinced that out of this renewed partnership, both countries can draw mutual benefits at a parity of conditions.”

On April 27, Conte had met Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

“The series of bilateral meetings was concluded by the wonderful banquet offered by President Xi to me and to the entire Italian delegation that accompanied me,” he wrote in his Facebook account.

“I am very satisfied by the strengthening of economic and trade relations between Italy and the People’s Republic and, personally, by the friendship which is being consolidated with President Xi Jinping.

And I am proud that in the final release of the Belt and Road Forum, many of the Italian suggestions have been adopted, among them the references to financial and social sustainability, protection of human rights and of intellectual property.

“The Silk Road, I repeat, is a great opportunity for Italy, a challenge which we happily accepted through the signing of the MOU, in a framework of European principles and level playing field & with the maximum of guarantees for security of our strategic infrastructure. We have been a trailblazer for the other European partners which are now preparing to join this major infrastructural connectivity.”