Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi met his Austrian counterpart, Michael Spindelegger, at the foreign ministry today, 7 March 2012.
Their meeting was an important opportunity to resume and step up contacts between Rome and Vienna, nearly 3 years on from the Austrian Foreign Minister’s last visit to Italy.
On Europe, Terzi and Spindelegger were in full agreement on the need for a common effort to establish a concrete growth and reform agenda, complete with precise commitments.
The two Foreign Ministers also agreed on the importance of EU member states working to ensure that the Union speaks “with a single voice” in multilateral fora. On this topic, they referred in particular to human rights, religious freedom and the common security and defence policy.
Both Ministers also welcomed the recent approval of Serbia’s EU candidate status. Terzi had previously written, along with Spindelegger and their French colleague, Juppé, to the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, in support of Serbia’s bid. Minister Terzi will be visiting the country tomorrow with Prime Minister Mario Monti to take part in the second Italian-Serbian Summit, in Belgrade.
Still on the subject of EU enlargement in the Balkans, Terzi noted that Italy was the first of the European Union’s founder members to ratify the accession treaty for Croatia.
The two Foreign Ministers also discussed key international issues, with the focus on the difficult situation in Syria, Egypt and Libya, and on the Middle East peace process. They were in full agreement on the European Council conclusions on support for the Arab Spring and the democratic transition processes currently under way.
Minister Terzi took this opportunity to up-date Spindelegger on the latest developments in the case of the two Italian servicemen detained in India. He underscored the importance of maintaining a broad, cohesive international front in combating piracy and supporting the rules governing that issue.
At the end of their cordial discussion, the two Minister agreed to meet up again in Denmark, where the EU Foreign Ministers’ Informal on common foreign and security policy will be held on 9-10 March.