This afternoon (6:30 p.m.) in Brindisi, Minister Antonio Tajani will take part in a meeting organised by Confindustria. What role can Apulia play against the backdrop of the exchanges with the East and the new energy policies?
“Southern Italy, and therefore Apulia, can become a Mediterranean energy hub, a place to redistribute energy produced in a traditional but sustainable way across Italy and Europe. Apulia also offers port development that can be put at the service of the Italian and European economies. We should work in this direction, and the intention of the national government is as follows: offering a path to practically implement the ideas embedded in this vision in a decisive region for Italy”.
Another sector related to the scope of his ministry is the presence of the UN base in Brindisi.
“The UN base is a logistical pole with key aspects for Italy and Apulia. The pole in Brindisi keeps Italy and, therefore, our government involved in UN activities related to emergency management in crisis areas. While positively impacting the economy, the base also boosts Brindisi’s internationalisation process. The presence of the UN headquarters alone keeps Italy mobilised on issues vital to the Country’s continued commitment to international affairs”.
Apulia’s modernisation passes through Brindisi. Here, the centre-right Party proposes a moderate candidate – Pino Marchionna -against a rival from the Grillo party (Movimento 5 Stelle) aligned on critical productivist stances. What are the stakes?
“The centre-right Party has bet on a man who has shown his ability to govern the community of Brindisi well, with wisdom and vision, a reformist spirit and the ability to look ahead. These administrative and political skills proved his ability also to aggregate reformist and liberal voters closer to other parts of the political spectrum. In addition to the previous, our candidate is part of a political project focused on the Country’s future, ready to invest, change, and build while respecting the laws and the need to preserve our territories. Thus, the exact opposite of 5 Stelle, which was paralysed by the fear of change and used to demonise every development of the status quo. We defend Brindisi, but we want to build its future”.
The government and the NRRP challenge: how do you think the governance reform drawn up by Minister Raffaele Fitto would affect this challenge?
“Governance is going in the right direction, that of efficiency. The NRRP was designed to respond to the Coronavirus crisis before the Ukraine war. As we have always said, we must use flexibility in agreement with Brussels, change without disrupting the plan, and be in harmony with Europe to follow changed needs in changed general conditions”.
As for immigration, Italy has consolidated its dialogue with the southern shore of the Mediterranean, especially with Tunisia. Has anything new happened on the dossier of funds for Tunis?
“This crisis in Tunisia is an issue that the government has tackled forcefully in recent months: our neighbouring Country is experiencing a complex political, social and economic crisis. Tunisia has been asking the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for help for a long time, making the release of substantial funding conditional on economic reforms. Negotiations have stalled on this. We believe we must proceed with some initial grants to avoid letting the Tunisian economy and the ruling political system collapse. Our European partners were initially very hostile to such a proposal; they said ‘either reforms or no funding’. We reached a greater understanding with France, and the main European countries will follow. Though Tunisia must make reforms and guarantee the respect of political rights, we cannot abandon a people and a Country that is a friend to Europe. Let’s help Tunisia now”.
In Finland, the new government has taken the Ppe-conservative alliance, founded in 1994 by Berlusconi and now leading Italy, as a model. Is this also a possible pattern for the next European parliament?
“Keeping relationships and contacts alive between the European Conservatives and the leaders of the People’s Party is fundamental. I have always supported an alliance between these two forces and the Liberals, the same alliance that led to my election as President of the European Parliament in 2017. People’s Parties and Conservatives are different forces but often vote together in the European Parliament. It is a path we will follow”.
In Apulia, Forza Italia showed great activism in the municipal elections, gathering consensus that marked the region as a true Berlusconi stronghold. What is this result – which improves the already very positive result of the political polls – based on?
“I believe that Forza Italia has a simple secret: in an era of extreme polarisations, our party represents a symbol of balance, moderation, and activism. This is the message that Silvio Berlusconi launched at the Party’s foundation and reaffirmed a few days ago in a video at the Milan convention. Forza Italia is a party that runs the territories with balance and wisdom, specifically at the local level and, thus, in Apulia. I am sure that this is what we will achieve in Brindisi, Altamura, Acquaviva delle Fonti, and Mola di Bari for the next five years!”