Speaking at the Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels, Minister Terzi launched a “clear appeal” for his EU partners’ increased focus on the countries of the Mediterranean. Terzi recalled his recent missions to Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. “Each of these countries, in its own way, has a great need for Europe’s support”, Terzi pointed out, underscoring that Italy had carried a message of confidence from the Italian and European business communities. The minister has also been in Turkey and in the Gulf, and Italy is preparing for the 20 February meeting in Naples of the 5+5 foreign ministers, a traditional dialogue forum uniting representatives of the two shores of the Mediterranean (Italy, France, Malta, Portugal and Spain for Europe; Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia for the southern shores; at the Naples meeting the format will be expanded to include Egypt, Greece and Turkey), precisely for the purpose of boosting cooperative relations in the Mediterranean region at a moment of decisive and rapid change. According to Italy it is important to discuss political cooperation, the foundation for every type of relationship, but it is also necessary – as our southern neighbours are urging – to discuss the issues of employment, immigration and regional integration, in a global approach to regional relations. This focus on the Mediterranean countries is also witnessed by Minister Giulio Terzi’s recent decision to appoint Minister Plenipotentiary Maurizio Massari – ministry spokesperson for the last three years – Special Envoy for the Countries of the Mediterranean and of the Arab Spring.
The mandate Minister Terzi has given Maurizio Massari is a threefold one: to promote relations with the new political formations and civil societies of the Arab Spring countries; to contribute to the formulation of a national strategy for the Mediterranean; and to explore proposals and initiatives concerning the consolidation of the regional framework of the greater Mediterranean region.