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Governo Italiano

Dettaglio intervento

Data:

01/07/2008


Dettaglio intervento

• It is an honour and a pleasure for me to address such a prestigious audience as a last speaker of this very interesting conference.
• On both sides of the Atlantic, we are approaching a season of important changes. The way we will be able to deal with them, and with their aftermath, will greatly influence the way we will be able to shape our alliance.
• The first of such changes concerns the election of the new President in the US. I think that the interest and the enthusiasm with which the public opinion world-wide is following the exciting twists and turns of this campaign is the most tangible and reassuring evidence that the global appeal of the US is far from declining.
• Also in Europe we are on the eve of important innovations, as well as challenges of great significance. The most immediate one is the advent of France’s rotating Presidency of the European Union starting as of today. Like Germany, like Italy, France is traditionally a crucial driving force of the European project. It is  therefore reasonable to expect, and it indeed widely expected, that its six-months Presidency will lead to significant achievements in many policy areas where advancements are much needed. And Europe does need to advance decisively, given the delicate stage which the integration process is going through right now.
• I am hopeful and confident that Europe will not fail to rise to the occasion. You know in December last year the 27 member States of the EU signed a Treaty introducing substantial improvements in the institutional architecture and the decision-making procedures of the Union. I very much hope that in 2009 such innovations will enter into force despite the undisputed blow suffered with the recent referendum in Ireland rejecting the Treaty of Lisbon.
• It is not my intention to underestimate scope and significance of the Irish vote; neither do I intend to ignore the will democratically and unequivocally expressed by the Irish people (but the popular will of more than 20 other European member states which have already ratified the same treaty was no less democratic or unequivocal). As Prime Minister Berlusconi has rightly pointed out, in today’s European landscape there are - and I fully agree with my Prime Minister - many elements contributing to the unpopularity of the European institutions; these elements need to be fixed and redressed if we really want Europe to gain new élan and to address the real concerns of its citizens. In this respect, the Irish referendum might even turn out to be a healthy wake-up call.
• But one thing is certain: Europe cannot afford to spend any more time paralyzed in the quicksand of the never-ending institutional negotiations which have been conducted for the last seven years.
• Globalisation is progressing much quicker than our discussions on reforming European Union institutions. New regional and global powers are emerging or re-emerging, eager and ready to take over. The world is not willing to wait for Europe institutional reforms. And Europe can hardly afford to be caught off-guard while facing global challenges which will impact the future of our children, and the future of generations yet to come. Europe will be loved by its citizens if it asserts itself as a global player, responding in concrete terms to the growing expectations about security, migration management, energy or climate change policies. In other words, Europe must get its act together. This is an English expression describing more efficiently than anything else the essence of what needs to be done.
• We must be guided by the same imperative as far as the transatlantic relationship is concerned. Despite recurring criticism, the cooperation between two sides of the Atlantic is alive and well. But we can, and we must, do more. America and Europe must find effective ways to further strengthen their strategic partnership; a partnership which, as was solemnly reaffirmed at the latest EU-US summit held last month in Slovenia , is “firmly anchored in our common values”. For my Country’s foreign policy such an objective is a central and indispensable reference: as central and indispensable as Italy’s long-standing commitment to the goal of an ever closer European Union.
• We are living through dramatic times, bringing about extraordinary opportunities, as well as extraordinary dangers. The previous session of this conference was just pointing out the interconnected global challenges the international community must address – as urgently and effectively as possible.
•  So, we have no choice. We have to manage the changes related to these complex challenges. I think inaction is not a credible option.
• The best answer to these global challenges must be a global answer. Here is a proposition which it is almost impossible  to disagree with. But the reality suggests that such a proposition proves awfully difficult to translate into concrete initiatives and real agreements. And the experience of the extraordinary food summit of the FAO in Rome last month has just shown how difficult can be the path leading to a global understanding, even in front of the most dramatic emergencies.
• In my view, Europe and America share more than values. They have a clear interest in forging an ever closer cooperation. First of all, because for both of us a close cooperation is an indispensable precondition for being successful in tackling threats and challenges that neither could effectively address alone.
• We both believe in an international system that puts cooperation, rather that competition, at its core. We both believe that the global system of commercial and financial exchanges must be open but also fair; that it must be able to reconcile freedom and welfare; efficiency and justice; growth and sustainability. We both aim at engaging the rising players in the international scene as responsible stakeholders, in order to obtain a constructive contribution to the management of global issues. And I think our efforts in this direction, when dealing with countries like Russia, China, India, South Africa or Brazil might have an even better chance of succeeding if we were able to conduct them in a concerted manner, in a way to complement and reinforce each other.
• The bonds of mutual friendship holding together the two sides of the Atlantic run very strong and deep. Our ties are particularly intense and fruitful in the economic field. Our ultimate goal, the objective of achieving a barrier free transatlantic market, is ambitious but it is within our reach. But of course the cooperation between industries, markets and trading systems must be put in the wider framework of a strong and determined political partnership.
• For the global partnership between Europe and the US to be closer, deeper and more effective, the one thing we do need to have is more Europe. When I say more Europe, I mean a global player which can be a serious and reliable partner of the US. When I say serious and reliable, I mean a partner which is not eluding its responsibilities, also in the sensitive field of defence and security policy, but is willing and able to take them on in a conscious and responsible manner. When I say conscious and responsible, I mean an ally who is finally capable of producing security, instead of being a net consumer at the America’s expense; a mature contributor of security instead of a free-rider who before an international crisis is begging the US to take the initiative and then complaining about the action undertaken unilaterally by the US, even in some cases accusing it of being arrogant.
• Let me be clear on this point. I do not intend to speak in praise of unilateralism. On the contrary: I think that, even if sometimes it can be inevitable, unilateralism is an inappropriate and insufficient answer to the interconnected threats and challenges which we have to face. But I also believe that there is a danger which is even more serious and we have to do whatever we can in order to avert it: I am referring to the danger of isolationism. Isolationism would mean, for Europe, sliding toward irrelevance; for the US, it would mean a retreat from the world into the illusory cocoon of insularity; it would mean giving up the role of leadership at a time when the world badly needs the US to play a leading role.
• If the US is, and in my view will still remain for the future, the indispensable Nation, strengthening the partnership between the US and Europe is an indispensable priority for both. It is a very delicate task whose outcome cannot be taken for granted, although we can take comfort from the strong and consistent determination in this direction of the current leaders in the European Union. The leading European statesmen and the heads of the European institution, in fact, now all agree that the idea of building Europe as a counterweight to the US would lead Europe to a political disaster, since building stronger ties with the US is an essential precondition to strengthen Europe’s cohesiveness and its ability to play the role of global player which Europe is aspiring to. And, conversely, we believe that the next President of the United States, whoever he will be, will trust that a stronger and more cohesive European Union is the best global partner and ally the US can rely upon. More Europe, not less America: this should be our “motto”.
• And for Italy, I repeat it once more, a strong and vital transatlantic relationship is of paramount importance. The Italian government, therefore, is willing and ready to contribute whatever it takes, and whatever Italy can contribute – and I think it is not little -, to the attainment of this goal.
• A constructive contribution to a more efficient and effective functioning of the multilateral system as the most appropriate instrument to find proper answers to the complex challenges the international community has to address; in other words, we intend to add some real substance to the principle of effective multilateralism.
• We have a real opportunity to do so inside the G8, of which Italy will have the Presidency next year and which has the specific responsibility to deal with some of most pressing global issues.
• We think our efforts should also be focused on NATO. I believe that, as Dr. Henry Kissinger said some time ago, the Atlantic Alliance is the keystone of both the American and the European foreign policies. NATO has already proved capable of transforming itself effectively and adjusting to a new context of threats which have become changing, but are still perceived as affecting all the allies in the same way.
• First of all, we have to make our best to ensure that NATO succeeds in the crucial missions where its forces are currently engaged, from Afghanistan to the Balkans, where one of the most precious assets of the Alliance, its credibility, is at stake. The value added which NATO can provide goes also beyond the merely military dimension. We should strive to deepen and improve the political dimension of the Alliance, in order to provide a permanent forum for consultations between allies. And NATO has the potential, thanks to the historic decisions taken at the Pratica di Mare summit in 2002, to engage Russia in a constructive dialogue on topics of common interest. It is through the institutions of the Alliance, not against or beyond them, and by reviving what we call the “spirit of Pratica di Mare”, that Europe and the US have a chance to build a more solid and durable relationship with an important partner like Russia.
• The Italian government is fully committed to let the Alliance succeed in these delicate tasks. Our recent decision to review the deployment of our forces participating to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan was first of all aimed at making the operation on the ground more effective; at the same time, it was meant to send a strong political and symbolic signal in the direction of other allies, in order to restore those vital feelings of mutual solidarity and trust that had been previously jeopardised by the proliferation of so called “caveats”. Moreover, the significant presence of Italian representatives in the some of the key positions in the structure of the Alliance, as well as the material support the Italian Armed Forces are lending to the missions themselves is a tangible evidence of the seriousness of our commitment.
• Vorrei infine dire due parole sulla dimensione bilaterale della nostra partnership. Non si tratta solo di una amicizia tra paesi alleati e tra Governi; ma è una amicizia tra i nostri due popoli ed è una amicizia lunga e durevole. Naturalmente il contributo fornito da singoli cittadini è di fondamentale importanza. Ed è proprio in quest’ottica che vorrei ricordare la figura di Giovanni Agnelli, alla cui memoria è dedicata questa giornata, che ha contribuito - grazie alle sue numerose iniziative e le sue amicizie personali con cittadini statunitensi quali Henry Kissinger – a far si che l’Italia sia amata ed apprezzata dal popolo americano rafforzando l’amicizia transatlantica.  Infine vorrei ancora una volta ringraziare tutti voi per essere oggi qui con noi.


Luogo:

Roma

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