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Governo Italiano

Di Maio: "The masks will arrive. Even diplomacy saves lives" (Il Fatto Quotidiano)

Date:

03/24/2020


Di Maio:

No doubt about the line, quite the opposite: "We have allies, like the United States. And then we have invested in friendship with China and Russia, and we have done well given the help they are giving us. Diplomacy saves lives". While grappling with masks and lung ventilators to be found ("our ambassadors around the world fill the warehouses"), Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio defends the government: "No one has even taken 'lockdown lessons', this is an unprecedented crisis. It is always possible to do better, but if you look back at the recent statements of many people, it emerges that days ago many had sided against the lockouts. I would avoid polemics; let's think about being team-minded".

Let's begin with the masks: they are scarce, and it seems that Italy has often had them taken by other countries.

Italy needs 100 million masks per month and 10 thousand lung ventilators, according to projections on the evolution of the coronavirus. To make up for this, we have signed a contract with China to obtain 20 million masks per week, for the first batch of 100 million.

It's enough for a month...

The contract is expandable. We're working on it. In the meantime, 3 million masks and 200 lung ventilators will be donated from China. And then we have blocked cargoes in various countries, from Turkey to the Czech Republic to Romania and Egypt.

Why were they stopped?

Customs agencies have intervened because many countries are blocking the export of medical equipment. So have we. But to remedy I called the Foreign Ministers: in several cases, they didn't even know about the blocked materials.

 

What did they ask for in return?

To be helped if they find themselves in our condition.

And what will China achieve, the definitive acquisition of Italy in its sphere of influence?

There are no geopolitical risks, there are only friendly relations, like the one with Russia, which sent us nine planes with equipment and doctors. I'm smiling at those who were protesting that they opened the way to the Silk Road. We were right when we sent 40,000 masks to China as soon as the epidemic broke out in Wuhan. And the concert organised at the Quirinale (The residence of President Mattarella) with the most famous Chinese artist was also crucial.

Are China and Russia good, and Europe bad? Many countries have ignored your demands.

I don't feel abandoned by the West at all. Many European countries are helping us. It is essential to remind that over a million has been donated by an American foundation and another donation has arrived from India.

In tomorrow's Eurogroup (today, editor's note) we will talk about the ESM (European Stability mechanism), the state saving fund. The Five Star Movement strongly opposed to using it, as the political leader Vito Crimi repeats. And you?

I agree with what Crimi said. Specific instruments have already been used after the subprime mortgage crisis and have proved not to work, that is, not to guarantee serenity and equality to citizens. We need another solution.

What is the stance of Giuseppe Conte? The 'hawks' of Northern Europe are already invoking the conditionality clause for those who will use the ESM.

I agree with the Prime Minister: he clearly stated that the money of the ESM that is our money is one thing, the place where this money is contained another. The economic crisis that will follow the health crisis will not be overcome with memoranda.

Conte Saturday night "communications" caused a storm. He spoke when the decree was not yet approved.

If he hadn't talked, the first drafts of the decree would have come out, and they would have told him he had kept quiet. There is no contingency time, and I prefer a President of the Council of Ministers who continually updates the citizens.

The impression is that we're going to be groping: bland ordinances on Fridays and tight on Saturdays. I repeat, this is an unprecedented crisis.

The government is moving gradually, according to the evolution of the scenario. We are on day two of the decline in contagions. It is a small sign, but we must continue in this direction.

The unions are threatening to strike, Lombardy Region is always on the warpath with you.

Different interests intersect. We have adopted the lockdown, and now we must aim for results. By the time we get the result, it will be credit for all.

The opposition calls for the involvement of Parliament. Isn't that right?

Parliament must undoubtedly be involved, and the parties have the tools to do so. But emergency decisions are made in an emergency. That is why we have used decree-laws and decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers.

Will there come stricter penalties for those who violate the prohibitions?

Yes, if a minority of irresponsible people won't stop making fun of the State. It wasn't even enough for these people to see the rows of coffins in Bergamo.


Periodical:

Il Fatto Quotidiano

Author:

Luca De Carolis

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