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Tajani: «We are in favour of the new EU fund to compete with the USA» (La Verità)

Tajani: «Favorevoli al nuovo fondo Ue per competere con gli Usa» (La Verità)
Tajani: «Favorevoli al nuovo fondo Ue per competere con gli Usa» (La Verità)

Minister Tajani, the week begins with a new episode in the always complicated relations between the USA and China. President Biden had the Chinese spy “balloon” shot down. Is the crisis only just beginning?  

«There are very precise international rules for overflight authorisation, which have not been followed. The US legitimate decision to stop the balloon was also taken because of the strong reactions that this overflight caused in the country. Obviously, I also note that the incident comes at a time when the USA and China have been working on a path of détente, with Secretary Blinken’s planned trip to Beijing that has only been postponed for the moment. Italy is always working for a path of détente, which, however, this incident does not facilitate».

China protests and speaks of an exaggerated US response, while the FBI will analyse the remains of the balloon. Do you think this episode will lead to a freeze in relations between the United States and China?

«President Biden waited many hours in taking his decisions so as to prevent the destruction of the balloon in flight from generating dangerous debris that would crash on American soil. But in the meantime US diplomacy assured us that contacts with China remained active at all times. China had been forewarned of the action against the balloon, and is now responding with an overreaction».

Meanwhile, in Italy, the controversy over the Cospito case continues after the demonstrations in Rome and Milan during the weekend. The PD says that the visit to the anarchist in prison was dictated by humanity reasons, while Cospito’s health conditions risk worsening. Can we reaffirm that the 41 bis harsh prison regime is not subject to negotiation?  

«The 41 bis harsh prison regime will not be changed. It has nothing to do with humanity or hunger strikes. It is an issue of defence of the rule of law». 

Should we expect more attacks on Italian Missions’ offices around the world?

«The Italian State, its embassies have been put in the crosshairs of terrorist acts or demonstrative actions. We can expect other attacks, and this is the reason why we should not overdramatise the situation, but neither should we underestimate the potential dangers: any call for unity by politicians in the face of these dangers is shared and reiterated by me».

There is certainly a very strong clash at political level, with Donzelli’s accusations in Parliament and the opposition’s protests. Prime Minister Meloni says there is no basis for the resignation of Undersecretary Delmastro Delle Vedove. Enrico Letta accuses the Prime Minister of “stoking the fire”. It is complicated to speak of unity at this time…. 

« I agree with Prime Minister Meloni’s call for a sense of responsibility: let us lower the debate down, all of us. The common enemy is a movement represented by a person convicted of terrorism. Let us remember this. The political clash between majority and opposition only favours those who want to challenge the institutions. I lived through the Red Brigades experience, and I can say that a thousand anarchists marching in Rome will certainly not succeed in destabilising the State. But we cannot lower our guard either».

In Ukraine, a new Russian offensive is feared. Do you confirm what the Defence Minister said: we will train Ukrainian forces on our territory, too? 

«We will do whatever it takes. The ultimate goal is to achieve peace. But peace can only be achieved by avoiding the permanent Russian occupation. In the meantime, we trust that concrete steps and initiatives can be taken to bring the parties closer».

For example?

«Italy is putting forward the proposal to establish a “safety zone”, supported by the control of the UN Atomic Energy Agency, around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, to prevent a missile launched even by mistake from causing another Chernobyl. We follow and support the work of IAEA Director Rafael Grossi, who says he wants to create a sort of “sanctuary” there. Preventing the disaster is in everyone’s interest, and could be the first step towards talks between Ukraine and Russia in the direction of peace. The other urgency is to protect the export of grain to African countries. I have also encouraged the Turkish government to pursue these initiatives».

Would these be starting points on which to engage in a broader discussion?

«Yes, I think so: safety zone and grain. Concrete facts from which to start, without prejudice to our defence of Ukraine’s independence, and our willingness to be in the forefront for the reconstruction of the country».

Do you think it is still possible to return to the status quo ante, or shall Ukraine anyway give up pieces of territory to reach an armistice?

«We do not know whether it will be possible to return to the status quo ante: first of all, it is necessary for the two warring parties to sit around a negotiating table. I remain convinced that supporting Ukraine and seeking peace are not incompatible missions».

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Meloni has been welcomed in Berlin: Germany does not seem to be moving from its granitic policy line on State aid. Do we risk being penalised?

«The risk is that there will be imbalances in the internal market. Loosening the position on State aid will mean that the richer countries can support their companies more than the others. This would favour one or two countries, but not Europe as a whole. In short, it would go against the spirit of the European Union».

Would an EU sovereign fund be more useful?

«Yes, because it would enable us to compete seriously with the United States, which is intervening with substantial funding to support its own companies».

In July the FAO Summit on food systems will be held in Rome. What does it mean for Italy?

«It means returning to the centre of the world debate on food and food safety and security. Representatives from 190 countries will meet in Rome, a city that will prove to be perfectly capable of hosting events of this magnitude, such as Expo 2030. It is a recognition and acknowledgement of our commitment to multilateralism and a source of pride for the entire Italian agri-food industry».

Will it also be an opportunity to oppose the European policy line, which would like to impose the arrival of insect-based flours on our plates, in the name of environmental sustainability? 

«It is an attack on the Mediterranean diet, and ultimately on our identity. At the European level, we managed to win a battle not to put carcinogenic substances in wine, and we will certainly continue to defend our food model».

Is the “green” mentality becoming detached from reality?

«I do not share the fundamentalist policy line on climate change, which does not take into account the negative industrial and social consequences. I voted against the European Commission’s proposal to stop non-electric engines by 2035. It is a very severe mistake: with those rules we risk killing the car industry in Europe. I have always thought that, alongside environmental goals, we need to set boundaries to safeguard the real economy».

Today we are delivering five boats to the Libyan government. For what purpose?

«We want Libya to be involved in regulating immigration flows. These are EU-funded means that will be used by the Libyan coast guard to fight human traffickers».

All this while in Italy the process of differentiated autonomy gets underway. With the related polemics about a divided Italy, and first-class and second-class citizens. The PD continues to say that this reform is inadmissible because it splits the country. What do you say?

«This bill simply applies and implements constitutional provisions, without creating inequalities between North and South».

Does this reform need changes, or could it enter into force without amendments?

«We can imagine some minor tweaks in Parliament, but for me the project is fine as it is».

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