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Della Vedova: unprecedented effort by the Foreign Ministry to assist Italians abroad in the pandemic

Benedetto Della Vedova, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with responsibility for Italians abroad, spoke today at the conference on the “Impact of the pandemic on fellow regional residents abroad: problems, continuity, return migration, new opportunities”, organised by ERAPLE – the regional organisation of Acli for the problems of Italian expats abroad from Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

The Deputy Minister emphasised that Italian citizens registered with our consulates abroad number more than 6.3 million. “As we all know, this is a diaspora of inestimable human and cultural value, and these fellow Italians need to feel the presence of their homeland in the host countries,” Della Vedova said, highlighting that “in the direst moments of the pandemic emergency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has consistently strived to make sure that the active and constant presence of the Italian institutions was felt among our fellow citizens living abroad”.

In this regard, he stressed the unprecedented effort by the Foreign Ministry over the last year and a half. During 2020, the Crisis Unit, working in partnership with the diplomatic-consular network, organised no less than 1185 emergency repatriation operations, and brought home more than 110,000 Italians from 121 countries. On top of this, the Foreign Ministry allocated over 6.6 million euros in total to the entire network for providing financial relief to Italians in hardship.

“Our communities abroad are made up not just of the descendants of the previous generations of emigrants, but of growing numbers of young people, as a result of a “new mobility”, which has not been stemmed despite the restrictions imposed over the last year and a half due to the health emergency” – the Deputy Minister continued – “I believe that these young people, who choose to invest abroad the human and cultural capital they have acquired in Italy, deserve our special attention in these delicate and difficult times, by ensuring that they have a reception network. At the same time, we need to create the conditions here in Italy capable of fostering a process of return migration, for those who might decide to return tomorrow, and this will certainly take place if we can offer a more attractive and competitive labour market, but also and above all if the country grows and develops, in terms of infrastructure, innovation and quality of services. An essential goal to achieve this will be to invest the funds allocated by Europe, through the Next Generation EU plan, in a virtuous manner and within the defined timeframe. This is a unique opportunity to relaunch our country, beginning with a dual transition, ecological and digital, and moving to solve the structural weaknesses of the system.

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