Promotion of the country’s productive system, strengthening of the European Union, the Middle East peace process, the Syrian crisis, Libya and the solution to the case of the marines held in India were some of the foreign ministry’s main planning concerns outlined by Minister Emma Bonino in her report before the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
Growth diplomacy to sustain exports
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the minister explained, intends “to contribute to the economic recovery and consolidation” of the country, which is the government’s top “priority”, and to do so, first and foremost, through the “internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises”, a mission that will be shared with the Ministries of Economic Development and of Foreign Trade. Within a vision of “diplomacy for growth”, the minister added, “we are obliged to sustain the trend in our foreign exports”, which “rose by 3.5% in 2012”.
Goal: a United States of Europe
Also linked to economic growth is the European question. “A Europe solely founded on austerity is not possible” because the EU “must be and do something more”, the minister underscored, specifying that “not everyone has understood what the political costs could be” of a Europe such as we have today. The government’s goal “remains a United States of Europe” and a “system that ensures greater results and savings too, in the sectors of defence, research, major infrastructures and, obviously, foreign policy”. “I believe”, she added, “that the Italian EU presidency in the second half of 2014 will be a major opportunity for injecting new impetus”. Moreover, the transatlantic partnership can be an instrument for “making further advances”, especially as regards “trade and investments”.
Syria: Bonino in Amman on 22 May
Moving on to the Syrian crisis, the minister announced that she would be in Amman on 22 May to attend the meeting of the Friends of Syria, whose participants are to include “the United States and Russia”. The following day the Syrian opposition will be meeting in Istanbul to decide whether to participate in Geneva 2. This “gives me hope that there is another possibility” for a “Syrian tragedy with 80,000 dead”, Bonino added.
Middle East: last chance for peace
In terms of the Middle East, there is a “last possible chance” for Israeli-Palestinian peace that should lead rather than to “two peoples, two States”, to “two peoples, two democracies”, the minister asserted, expressing her confidence in the efforts and commitment of U.S. diplomacy.
Libya: contributing to avoiding chaos
As for Libya, “Italy must work with other countries on an initiative that avoids the situation’s deteriorating into chaos”. “The law on isolation that will decimate a portion of the political class”, and lead Tripoli into a “complicated situation, did not help”, Bonino commented.
Marines: dialogue and firmness to bring them home
In the case of the marines held in India, we must “find a way to bring them home, and I believe that dialogue and firmness can lead us to a just solution”, the minister stated, expressing her hopes for a “fair and rapid” trial. “We will not shrink”, she assured, “from stating our belief in international law”. Referring then to contacts with her Indian colleague Kurshid, the minister announced that the new inquests “should last two months and be in application of the law not on terrorism at sea, but of the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) that, therefore, rules out the death penalty”.
First visit abroad to Serbia and Kosovo
The minister also announced that her “first visit outside of Italy, apart from institutional ones, will be to Serbia and Kosovo, where “after a thousand wounds, today there is a different hope”.