“According to the provisions of the Stability Law, the Italian EU presidency is going to cost 56 million euro, and, on the impetus of Premier Enrico Letta, will have not only Rome as its centre of gravity, but also Milan”. The statement came from Ambassador Luigi Mattiolo, head of the MFA’s Directorate General for the EU, who spoke of a “rigorous selection of events” that would not fail to highlight “Italian excellence”, and would have the two-fold objective of “ensuring adequate organisation and reducing operating costs”.
Meetings and ASEM summit, “launching pad” for Expo
Informal ministerial meetings and an ASEM summit to be held in mid-October, with the participation of 50 European and Asian countries, will also serve as a “launching pad” for the 2015 Milan Expo. Over recent years, recalled Minister Gabriele Altana, head of the delegation for the organisation of the presidency, spending on the rotating presidency has ranged from Denmark’s 40 million to France’s 170 million. Greece is planning to spend 50 million.
Adriatic-Ionian Strategy a priority
“One of the mainstays” of the Italian EU presidency will be the Adriatic-Ionian Strategy to be adopted by the presidency’s concluding Council, Ambassador Mattiolo underscored during the Senate briefing. This is a strategy that “for the first time unites member and non-member States”, he explained, pointing out that, although not a “substitute for enlargement”, it would be an extremely important achievement.
An “especially intense” term
Italy’s presidency term, Mattiolo added, is going to be “especially intense”, not least in light of its intersection with the NATO summit and the new UN General Assembly session.