President Barack Obama will host Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini for an official visit followed by a state dinner on Oct. 18, the White House announced on Monday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the visit would be “an opportunity to recognize the depth and breadth of our relationship with Italy and exchange views on the future of Europe.”
“Italy is one of our closest and strongest allies,” Earnest said, “and we cooperate across a range of shared interests, from addressing climate change and the global refugee crisis, to promoting global security and inclusive economic growth.”
During the first meeting in Washington between the two leaders on April 17, 2015, President Obama praised Prime Minister Renzi’s energy and vision, as well as his “willingness to challenge the status quo and to look to the future.”
Obama and Renzi have discussed security and economic issues in the past, including the fight against Islamic State in Libya, the conflict in Ukraine, and the European economy.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Ambassador to Rome John Phillips said that “Renzi has done an important job and is held in very high esteem by Obama, who appreciates his leadership.”
The October 18 event is likely to be the last state dinner for the Obama administration.