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Italy-Germany – Bonino-Steinmeier discuss Europe’s need for political future

A Europe dedicated to the growth of its citizens, and a Europe of the world, i.e. with a common foreign policy. These will be the priorities of the Italian EU duty Presidency, as Minister Emma Bonino outlined in a meeting today in Rome with her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier. And, on a German request that Italy fully embraces, a chapter was added calling for discussion of the future of Europe.

Other concerns will include the Mediterranean, security and illegal immigration, which “must become a priority not only for Italy”, the minister added. According to Steinmeier, the European Union must reflect on the need for a “political future” in order to gain stability and prosperity after so many years of crisis.

Syria: humanitarian access and localised ceasefire needed

Italy and Germany are working on behalf of “the immediate opening of humanitarian corridors” in Syria and, “at the same time, a ceasefire, even if only localised”, Bonino underscored. Steinmeier expressed the hope that such progress would already be possible after the second round of talks in Switzerland between the regime and opposition on Monday.

Marines: Germany thanked for its pressure on India

Italy also thanked the German authorities for having urged “a rapid conclusion” to the case of the Italian marines detained in India, said Bonino, adding that “we very much appreciated” German statements on the occasion of a visit to India by President Gauk, when German ambassador Steiner urged India to examine the case without disparity, warning that relations with Europe were at stake.

Ukraine: Steinmeier says no sanctions during negotiations

As long as negotiations continue between the Ukraine government and opposition, it would be advisable that the EU not take recourse to sanctions against Kiev, Steinmeier stated, adding that a “careful process has been launched”. Bonino asserted that Kiev “should reject an either-or mentality when it comes to Russia and the European Union”, reiterating that Europe would “not tolerate violent repression”.

Bilateral relations

Discussions also turned to bilateral relations. Steinmeier’s visit, which also included a meeting with President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Enrico Letta, opened a cycle of dialogue that will continue on 17 March in Berlin with an Italo-German summit, and on 9 May in Rome with the German minister’s participation in the 2nd Italo-German Economic Forum.