Prior to the quadrilateral summit in Rome of the heads of state of Italy, France, Germany and Spain, Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi met with the ambassadors to Italy of the 27 EU members to illustrate Italy’s positions and expectations ahead of the crucial European Council meeting in Brussels on 28 and 29 June.
“The Italian government considers next week’s appointment an opportunity that Europe cannot afford to miss”, said Terzi as he came out of his meeting with ambassador Birge Riis-Jorgensen of Denmark, current duty President of the European Union.
Minister Terzi explained to the European diplomats how Italy considers it indispensable that efforts toward recovery be accompanied by accelerated growth, as emerged also at the G20 meeting in Los Cabos Mexico, along with a clear convergence of EU and US positions. The approach must also be pursued through banking integration, an increasingly central factor in responding to the demand not only of markets but of public opinion as well.
In particular, with regard to budgetary discipline – with the introduction of a constitutional amendment on balancing the public budget and prospects for substantial equilibrium in structural terms in 2013 and a surplus that in 2014 will exceed 5% of GDP – and the reform of major sectors of the economy and of the society aimed at growth and employment, while also encouraging foreign investments.
In terms of international policy, the minister reviewed the Italian government’s foreign policy priorities, dwelling in particular on the need for a strong European commitment to supporting the Arab spring countries, especially Libya. Anticipating the agenda of the European foreign ministers planned for Monday in Luxembourg, Terzi confirmed his intention to raise the question of religious freedom and the defence of religious minorities, urging concrete action on the part of Europe following the tragic attacks against Christians in Nigeria, with the implementation of specific programmed and initiatives in the critical field of human rights.