“Italy is once more taking its place to speak with an authoritative voice at the table of the European institutions and in the circle of restricted, challenging meetings”. These were the words of the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, in his closing address to the 8th Conference of Ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry. President Napolitano underscored that Italy’s involvement “in the challenge to save the euro, and with it the achievements of and prospects for the European integration process”, is total.
On this front, added the President, Italy is called to make courageous, rigorous decisions at home and to agree on systematic solutions to consolidate the single currency, economic governance and the Union’s growth potential. We also need to see a “courageous advance towards political union”, on which point we need to ascertain what will be the outcome of the opening of an entirely new process, as set out in the 17-member international agreement, he added.
Italy’s commitment to Europe must not, however, distract our country from the other quadrants of the globe. “There is no risk of this happening as far as our relationship with the USA or our commitment in NATO and the United Nations fora are concerned”, note the Head of State. “However, we need to revitalise our relations with the emerging countries, especially in Asia, and with Africa and Latin America”, including through the leverage provided by Development Cooperation. Our relations with Russia, too, must remain strong, added the President.
For all of these challenges, Napolitano told the Ambassadors, “I believe that in your work here at the Foreign Ministry’s ‘nerve centre’ and in our posts abroad you can all share in the awareness and confidence that I feel. An awareness and confidence that I have tried to transmit to our fellow Italians and to those observing us from the outside, through the celebrations for this year’s 150th anniversary of the Unity of Italy”.
Addressing the staff of the Foreign Ministry, Napolitano expressed his “heartfelt appreciation” of the work performed in conditions that were sometimes difficult and fraught with risk. Work performed in the awareness that “Italy needs you if it is to be more fully informed of the world in which we live, in all its ceaseless transformations”. For this reason, he added, the structure of the diplomatic corps “must not be enfeebled, either in some erroneous obedience to European integration or in misleading adherence to a false conception of federalism within our own borders”.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not fail in its commitment and undertakings”, was the assurance given by Minister Giulio Terzi. “Italian diplomacy nurtures a mature awareness of its responsibilities. Responsibilities that are indeed onerous, but at the same time offer a wealth of opportunities. The men and women of the Foreign Ministry are here, before all else, at the service of the country, at the service of our fellow citizens, of our culture, of our enterprises. The Ministry intends increasingly to act as a focal point for the country’s economic growth and to support the internationalisation of our economic system using effective and innovative instruments”.