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Minister Terzi’s diary: European enlargement and stability in the Horn of Africa

European enlargement will be one of the items on the agenda for Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi’s meeting with the Austrian Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor, Michael Spindelegger, at the foreign ministry in Rome on 7 March 2012. The announcement was made by the head of the ministry’s Press Service, Giuseppe Manzo, during his customary press briefing to illustrate the Minister’s schedule for the week.

Spindelegger’s visit to Rome is viewed as “very important” by Minister Terzi. Not least with a view to resuming the regular meetings with the Austrian authorities that began in 2009 and which both countries now wish to step up. Indeed, Spindelegger will also be meeting Prime Minister Monti. His meeting with Terzi comes just a few days after Serbia was granted EU candidate status: a step on which Italy and Austria collaborated by signing, inter alia, a letter along with the United Kingdom.

Terzi and Spindelegger will also review bilateral relations, which see trade between Austria and Italy amounting to 15 billion euros over the last two years.

Minister Terzi will also be receiving the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, again on 7 March. Italy, noted Manzo, views Ethiopia as vital to peace and security in the Horn of Africa. With Addis Ababa, as with Vienna, Italy wants to place bilateral consultations on a more regular footing.

Ethiopia is in the forefront of Italy’s Development Cooperation effort, which will be maintained in spite of the current financial difficulties, noted Manzo. Another goal is to strengthen economic relations between the two countries. On 8 March, Italy’s leading business association, Confindustria, will host a Country Presentation to illustrate the main business and investment opportunities in the Ethiopian market. This will be followed by a session for business-to-business meetings with the Ethiopian entrepreneurs in the Deputy Prime Minister’s delegation.

On 8 March Minister Terzi will be travelling to Belgrade for the Italy-Serbia Summit at Heads of Government level. Also taking part will be the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Economic Development and the Environment. The agenda will include the European Union’s enlargement to include Serbia, which Italy has always supported in the framework of the very close relations between the two countries. The Summit will provide an opportunity to strengthen these links, which in economic terms have seen an annual increase of 15%.

Copenhagen will be Minister Terzi’s next destination, on 9 and 10 March 2012. Here, he will be attending the EU Foreign Ministers Informal (Gymnich format) which will discuss, inter alia, human rights and the European security strategy.

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