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Sereni: Closeness ( El Mercurio)

My visit to Chile last 5-7 November, which apparently marked the first visit by a foreign Government after the beginning of social protests in October, was meant to express, on behalf of the Italian Government, a special message of sympathy and solidarity with this Country’s people and institutions.  

The relations between Italy and Chile are grounded on age-old friendship ties and friends always show up at the time of need.

We are experiencing a crisis of confidence in citizens’ trust in institutions and politics that not only affects Chile but all the democracies in the world. 

Allow me to firmly stress the importance of rejecting all forms of violence. The fact that the Chilean Government invited observers of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights must be considered as an act of rigour and strength by Chile’s democracy. 

Chile is tackling the issue of a new social agenda and of a new Constitution. To this end, we greatly appreciate the historic agreement that was recently reached thanks to the commitment of all the parties involved. It is an important signal given at a time in which the Country is being urged to unity, peace and dialogue. The participation of citizens and civil society will be another key factor in this process.   

In this context, I think that there is still fertile ground for dialogue between Chile, Italy and the European Union in general. The social market economy model, with its significant experiences in the area of pensions, public education and health, can be an important point of reference to be expanded through a comparison with the best experiences acquired by both Countries. 

We must respond to common challenges, starting with the struggle against social inequalities, the promotion of sustainable development and of the inclusive participation of citizens in institutions and in politics. 

These are issues on which Europe has much to say here in Chile, in all of Latin America and in the rest of the world in terms of essential values such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the Rule of Law, and human rights. 

These are our founding values and constitute the grounds for a society based on pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between men and women.

It should be pointed out that Italians in Chile, a historically highly respected community, made a commitment to continue working, investing and developing projects in Chile while maintain their ties with Italy. Despite their awareness of the difficulties, they are firmly willing to contribute to Chile’s success. This too is a very important message of support and closeness.   

Italy will – as always in the past – stand by Chile in the hope that it will soon find the path towards unity and social dialogue, the only one capable of defeating violence and strengthening the foundations of a prosperous and equitable Country.