People who go to live and work in other countries are "a true bridge" between their homeland and their host nation, Germany's president Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday during a meeting with Italian past and future 'gastarbeiter'.
"Today we had a demonstration of what is often claimed in politics, namely that the true bridge in the relations between states are people, who have acquired an interest in and experience of another country," Steinmeier said.
He made the remarks during a visit to the Goethe Institut in Naples, where he met Italians who emigrated to Germany in the 1950s and 1960s and later returned home, as well as young people intending to move to Germany.
Steinmeier, Germany's former foreign minister, is on a two-day state visit to Italy at the invitation of Italy's president Sergio Mattarella.
On Wednesday, Steinmeier held talks in Rome with Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte, with Mattarella and with foreign minister Luigi Di Maio.
After their meeting, Steinmeier and Mattarella lauded their countries' ties, calling them "very special" and "at the highest level of excellence".