But relations have taken a turn for the worse since Italy’s populist parties came to power in June.
Much of the dispute has been about immigration.
France has criticised Italy for not allowing rescue boats carrying refugees and migrants to dock along its Mediterranean ports.
On Monday, it summoned Italy’s ambassador after Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio accused France of creating poverty in Africa and forcing mass migration to Europe.
So how much of this is politics ahead of EU elections in May?
Presenter – Richelle Carey
Adama Gaye – Journalist, author and West Africa analyst
Jacques Reland – Head of European Research at the Global Policy Institute
Matteo Villa – Research Fellow with the Europe and Migration programmes at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies