In the first hundred days of government in which foreign policy has been the absolute protagonist, alarm has broken out over attacks on diplomatic premises.
Minister Tajani, first Athens then Barcelona and Berlin: embassies and consulates in the crosshairs. Have you strengthened checks and surveillance around the world?
«I have given instructions to strengthen security measures in our embassies and consulates, including sending Carabinieri officers to the most at-risk locations. There has been no harm to people in these recent incidents, but we must maintain a high level of attention, especially to protect our staff. Some embassies are more at risk than others, but my thanks go to all the staff working abroad, who represent and honour Italy every day with their work, in the service of the Republic».
There is talk about an international network in action as to the Cospito case. Are you concerned? The government’s policy line is that of firmness.
«The violent actions of recent days, ranging from the attacks on an official’s car in Berlin to those on the Consulate in Barcelona – but I am also referring to violence in the streets, and to the threats against your colleague, the editor of the Tirreno – do not intimidate the Italian State. This is not dissent, these are not peaceful demonstrations, which are fully legitimate, but attacks against people and institutions. The government does not get intimidated by violent groups and does not come to terms with them».
The countries hosting our embassies and consulates must collaborate in investigations and provide enhanced security, both in Europe and in the rest of the world.
«This is already the case. In many embassies and consulates, in addition to the Carabinieri military officers, there are often Guardia di Finanza officers and police liaison officers who cooperate in various fields with the authorities of the countries in which they are posted. Also these liaison officers immediately took action to ask the local police forces to ensure more checks to protect our staff and our premises».
In Ukraine an escalation of war with a Russian offensive is feared. United Europe is willing to further arm Ukraine. Italy is ready for the sixth aid package. Europe is moving in unison, which is a comforting sign.
«Last week the United States and Germany took a coordinated decision to send tanks to Ukraine. This shows once again that the Allies continue to stand united in supporting Ukraine. Our unity is the best response to Russian aggression and its attack on democratic values. That said, the government will continue to assist Ukraine and its people on a humanitarian level. At the same time, Italian companies are ready to play a leading role in reconstruction».
You, who will today receive the keys of the City of Florence for your role in Europe, reiterates that sending arms helps to sit at the peace table.
«Our overriding goal is to promote a just peace, and this requires that Russia withdraws from Ukraine and puts an end to this aggression. We will continue to support all mediation efforts for a positive solution to the conflict. We also support and encourage the contribution of Turkey, China and the Vatican. There is no alternative to diplomatic negotiations, which can start – for example – by ensuring neutrality around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. I met several times with Grossi, the IAEA Director, the UN atomic energy agency. But as long as Russia continues to attack unarmed civilians, we must help Ukraine to defend itself in order to remain free and independent. Military defence is needed so that diplomacy can work towards peace».
The Mattei Plan can definitively bring energy self-sufficiency for Italy.
«The visits I have made in recent days to Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt and last Saturday to Libya with the Prime Minister, who has also recently gone to Algeria, demonstrate the government’s desire to strengthen relations with Mediterranean countries. The goal is to ensure Italy’s energy security and to cope with the increasing number of immigrants landing on our shores. With Algeria, in particular, we want to build a partnership that may nurture prospects for growth and development. In this regard, the GALSI project – a pipeline which will not only transport gas, but also green hydrogen and electricity – is a crucial element for sustainable development, and for increasing energy exports to Italy and potentially to the EU. We want to make Italy a regional energy hub, a bridge between the Southern shore of the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe».
An NGO ship was directed to La Spezia as a safe haven. A record distance from the rescue point. Is it ok?
«The Interior Ministry’s decision to assign the Geo Barents the port of La Spezia is linked to an issue of port rotation».