The authentic text is only the one actually delivered
Dear Mr Fulvio Scannapieco ,
Minister Giuliano Poletti,
Mr Ambrogio Prezioso,
Mr Roberto Scaramella,
Thank you for inviting me to participate in the inauguration of the new head offices of this marvellous Italian business enterprise. And the fact that this business developed in a region of Southern Italy is reason of even greater pride.
ALA is the success story of a business deeply tied to the regional territory but projected towards Europe and the world. With its activity, ALA contributes in placing Italy in a position of global leader in the aerospace industry.
Our tradition in this sector dates back more than 50 years. On 15 December 1967 we launched into orbit the San Marco 1, Italy’s first satellite and the first ever manufactured in Europe. That launch placed Italy as the third Country in the world to have a satellite in orbit after the two aerospace superpowers of the time: the United States and the Soviet Union.
Today we are among the founding members the European Space Agency and its third-largest contributor. Italy has been the lead country of the two Mars exploration missions called ExoMars: the one that took place in 2016 and the one planned for 2020.
Furthermore, over 50% of the pressurised volume of the International Space Station was developed in Italian industrial plants situated on the national territory.
We are also very active in the launcher sector (European Ariane and VEGA launchers). And we have points of excellence in the field of Earth observation (Cosmo-SkyMed programme) and satellite navigation systems (the European EGNOS and Galileo systems).
At the recent Italy-France bilateral summit – which I attended last week – the aerospace industry was the key point on the agenda, with the signing of two important cooperation agreements between Italian and French companies. It is important to consolidate our partnerships in Europe but it is equally crucial to look at geographically far-off markets that offer huge margins for growth.
ALA is an excellent example from this point of view. It has consolidated its position in Northern Europe and in the United States, also thanks to the recent acquisition of the French-British STAG and to the new commercial partnerships with China and India.
ALA has made a winning choice by opening up to overseas markets. And this choice has not only been ALA’s. A very large number of Italian companies have put their stakes on internationalisation in order to overcome the crisis and are here today to tell their success stories.
The figures confirm this. From 2008 to 2016, overall Italian exports rose 13% to more than 417 billion euros and now account for almost 30% of GDP, with a trade surplus of over 51.5 billion euros.
In the first semester of 2017, national exports continued on a steep uptrend to over 223 billion euros, recording a further 7.9% increase compared to the same period of 2016.
In the recent years of crisis, Italian exports witnessed a full-fledged boom. Supported by Italian diplomacy, exports have driven the Country’s growth, which is now also expanding to the domestic market.
This is why, since the very first day of taking office at the Foreign Ministry, I turned economic diplomacy into a top strategic priority. But also because of the companies’ growing demand for services in order to internationalise. Foreign policy must be an instrument to support them in fostering economic growth.
And the results are there for everybody to see…
Not only are we witnessing a growing number of companies ever-more frequently turning to our offices in Italy and to the diplomatic and consular network abroad.
But we are also taken as a model to follow: President Macron cited Italy (and Germany) as an example of effective diplomatic action in supporting the internationalisation of companies and boosting exports.
A contribution – that by economic diplomacy – that, together with Confindustria, we have even measured this year: thanks to an independent study by Prometeia, we now know that the Foreign Ministry’s contribution to economic growth accounts for more than 1% of GDP.
The study also confirmed the fact that the Foreign Ministry, with its network of more than 200 Embassies and Consulates in 126 Countries, mainly assists small and medium-sized enterprises, which accounted for 61% of the companies that were awarded contracts or won a tender thanks to our support.
But we can and must do more. Some see current geopolitical scenarios and the unpredictability that characterises them as a threat. Instead they conceal opportunities to be grasped!
Business opportunities are enormous worldwide and we are fully aware of the need to ever-more effectively support the presence of our companies on foreign markets.
Next 17 October I will co-chair the Situation Room for Internationalisation with colleagues from the Ministry of Economic Development in order to outline the strategic orientation of our promotional action for 2018.
Furthermore, in these past few months, I have wanted to reaffirm the following message: the doors of our Embassies and Consulates are open to companies to help them attract investments, make investments, boost exports and penetrate foreign markets, conquer new markets, participate in tenders and assist them in case of litigation or to overcome legal and administrative obstacles.
Sharing high quality information and providing institutional support are the cornerstones of our action. Because our Embassies and Consulates are the privileged interlocutors of local institutions and of the political, economic and civil society contexts in which they operate. And because our Embassies and Consulates have an overall view of Italian interests.
In other words: Italian Embassies and Consulates are your “home”. Come and visit them! Come and use them!
In order to transmit this message to the largest possible number of businesses, at the beginning of this year, I launched the initiative called “The Farnesina Meets Companies”.
I have visited many extraordinary business enterprises from the North to the South of our magnificent peninsula. Last May I was here in Naples, at the Chamber of Commerce. We chose Naples because the economy of the Campania Region is strongly export-driven and has largely contributed to relaunching our Country after the end of the crisis.
Campania is in the “top ten” of Italy’s leading exporting regions and ranked ninth in 2016 with 9.9 billion euros (2.4% of national exports).
Today the Campania Region projects abroad the image of a dynamic region that combines corporate creativity and originality with respect for traditions, technological innovation and excellent product quality.
This combination is the strength of today’s Made in Italy, the utmost expression of which we are touching first-handed in inaugurating these new ALA offices. And this what, as Italians, makes us feel very proud.
Allow me to address to you all my very best wishes for a future marked by all possible success!