(fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here today and to be able to speak about the main priorities for the Italian Presidency of the G8.
The global economic scenario has dramatically worsened since the G8 Summit in Toyako last July. As President of the G8, Italy has inherited a difficult and demanding challenge. We are faced with an extremely delicate phase of globalisation, and are working to enable the G8 to prove capable of providing prompt, concrete and reassuring answers to the concerns of international public opinion.
All in all, the basic message that Italy wishes to share with its own citizens and those of its G8 partners is simple: the international community possesses the technical, human, and especially moral resources needed to overcome the current crisis. In order to succeed, however, the international community must exercise its leadership. Globalisation must be governed.
The dimension of the problems confronting us lies behind our proposal of an innovative approach both in terms of how to proceed and of the substance of our proposals. To face effectively the challenges ahead of us we must be innovative on both the “hows” and the “whats”.
The “hows” reflect the urgent need for new and effective world governance. While it is evident that leadership from the G8 is still needed, none of the current global challenges can be successfully tackled without close and stable cooperation with the major emerging economies, in a spirit of shared responsibilities. In sum : in today’s multi-polar and complex world we need to build up a broader ‘axis of responsibility’. This is also the precondition to make multilateralism working.
As President of the G8, Italy views July’s La Maddalena Summit as the right occasion to propose a new global governance framework. The idea is to define a format that goes beyond the dialogue that began at Heiligendamm. We intend to place Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa in a more structured and stable association with the countries of the G8. Italy is of the view that a moderate, Arab, Muslim, and African country like Egypt would also be a useful addition to this exercise. In our view, this partnership would represent the core group of this new global governance, which will address crucial issues such as climate change (together with the other major emitters) and the fight against poverty (together with African countries).
The London Summit, which will be held in April in a G20 Plus format, will address the financial and economic crisis dealing in particular with the gaps of financial regulation. We are in close talks with the British government to ensure full cooperation between the G8 and the G20, as shown by the recent meeting between our two Prime Ministers in Rome. At our Summit in July at La Maddalena we can build on the London Summit and consolidate its achievements.
The reform of governance also concerns regional organisations. Italy is in favour of a more active and dynamic role for them. In order to better define the contours and content of such an increased role, we think it would be useful to convene a Summit of all regional organisations, an event that Italy would be willing to organize.
In terms of the “whats”, the substance of our G8 Presidency, I would like to dwell upon five priorities: (1) the financial and economic crisis; (2) climate change and energy security; (3) non-proliferation and terrorism; (4) development and Africa; (5) the regional crises, with particular reference to Afghanistan.
(1) The financial and economic crisis – The most serious crisis since the time of the Great Depression requires a global response. Better rules and increased international coordination are required to increase growth prospect of the world’s economy and set it on more solid foundations for the future. The G8 and G20, as I said earlier, should work together to contribute to the reform of the international financial institutions and the creation of a system of more effective rules, paying special attention to the transparency of the international financial system. It is precisely in this spirit that at the last meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers in Rome, our partners endorsed our proposal to work on an agreed set of common principles and standards on oversight, integrity and transparency of international economic and financial activity (what we call a Global-Legal Standard). Our aim is to give better rules to global markets in order to make them fairer and, at the same time, more efficient. In this respect, it is crucial that Europe will go to the G20 Summit in London with a coordinated position. This was the purpose of the meeting which took place last weekend in Berlin.
It will also be important to bolster greater openness in trade and investments, including a new, balanced agreement in the context of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with significant benefits for economic growth. We must avoid protectionist responses by individual countries, which would only worsen the international economic picture. The risks of protectionism will be discussed at the informal EU Summit to take place in Brussels on the 1 March.
Let me stress this point. Italy is very concerned about the protectionist temptations in some countries, particularly European ones. Protectionism risks to unravel the EU and the very logic of interdependence that underpinned its evolution over the last fifty years. The ‘four freedoms’ of the European single market cannot be called into question. On the contrary, Europe should lead in the fight against global neo-protectionism. We expect the United States to do the same.
(2) Climate change and energy - The United Nations Copenhagen Conference scheduled for next December is only a few months away. We have to ensure that a new regime for global emissions is in place for when the provisions of the Kyoto protocol expire in 2012. The Italian Presidency of the G8 intends to contribute to achieving a global agreement within the UN framework, making the Summit at La Maddalena a crucial milestone towards Copenhagen.
On climate change our Presidency intends to provide the maximum political impulse. The recent approval by the EU of a climate–energy package is the best guarantee that Europe, not least through the G8, will be capable of confirming its leadership in global negotiations on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen Conference. Our aim is to propose the EU package as a model towards the UN negotiations. Nevertheless, success in Copenhagen will also depend on the acceptance of comparable responsibilities by the other industrialised countries and commitments by the emerging countries.
The topic of the environment, as we all know, is closely connected with that of energy security. On this front, our Presidency intends to strengthen the dialogue between the principal fossil fuel producer and consumer countries, with the aim of stabilising the dynamics of energy supply and demand, increasing market transparency, and encouraging investment in new energy infrastructure.
(3) Non-proliferation and terrorism – We need a more aggressive approach to non-proliferation, in order to strengthen the multilateral regime. This is the message that our G8 Presidency intends to send.
We cannot continue to deal with the challenge of proliferation on a case-by-case basis. We need a systemic and sustainable approach to non-proliferation. The point of departure is that today it has become much easier to proliferate. We face a potential cascade of proliferation, particularly in the greater Middle East. True, Iran is the most urgent challenge. But unless we adopt a systemic approach we will face multiple challenges in the future (even if we succeed to solve the Iranian issue). Proliferation concerns both state and non - state actors. Nuclear terrorism is no longer an abstract threat. The implications of these developments are clear: we need to tighten our norms based on the NPT regime and the procedures for their enforcement.
The NPT Conference Review (2010) could provide the opportunity to make some significant breakthrough to this regard. For that to happen we need a shared, common commitment from the US and Russia in the first place. We particularly welcome the positive signals that the new US administration is sending. We should also not forget the sort of linkage that art. VI of the NPT Treaty established between non- proliferation and disarmament. Any effort to strengthen the non- proliferation regime would therefore greatly benefit from the existing nuclear powers’ commitment to reduce and gradually dismantle their nuclear weapons.
On the subject of terrorism Italy supports the line, taken since 2002, of an ad hoc declaration by the G8 Heads of State and Government. Within this framework we will be focusing primarily on measures to combat radicalisation and recruitment, as well as the need to reconcile effective instruments to combat international terrorism with the need to respect human rights and international law.
(4) Development and Africa – The need to address poverty, hunger, access to water and global health issues must not become less of a priority because of the economic crisis. The Italian Presidency intends to keep the dialogue on these issues with the African countries as the centrepiece of the G8 agenda. Africa is not only a problem to be solved but an opportunity to be seized. This is the main message I passed on during my recent visit to Africa.
We want the African countries to be considered as ‘equal partners’ and, therefore, our strategies towards them should be based on a ‘bottom up’ approach rather than a ‘top down’ one as it has been mostly the case so far. A stable and sustainable growth of the international economy cannot be achieved without taking into account the needs of developing countries and Africa. After all, it is mostly in the African continent that lives the ‘last billion’ of people marginalized from the global economy.
Another point I want to stress on Africa: we need to complete the transition from a traditional approach based on fighting against poverty to a more sophisticated approach based on sustainable development.
According with the Accra Agenda and the Doha Conference conclusions Italy intends to promote an innovative approach to development, based on the involvement of all relevant actors and resources: not only Official Development Assistance (ODA) but also investments, public/private partnerships, innovative financing mechanisms, private foundations and the active involvement of civil society. This “whole of country” approach does not imply a fall back from our ODA commitments. Instead, it recognises that public aid, per se, is not enough to fight poverty. It also implies that industrialised and emerging nations collaborate on buffering the impact of the economic crisis on developing countries. Such approach will inspire us in the course of the G8 Development Ministerial meeting that I shall have the privilege of chairing at Pescara in May.
(5) Regional crises – Among the principal regional issues that the Italian Presidency intends to bring to the attention of our G8 partners is certainly Afghanistan. At the G8 Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs to be held in Trieste in June, I intend to organise an international Conference dedicated to Afghanistan considered in its regional context. That means first of all to pay special attention to its relation with Pakistan. But I am planning to invite other countries that can play a role in the area: among others India, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt. This is a special initiative, designed to contribute to the stabilisation of the entire region. Italy is convinced - and I confirmed this point during my recent visit to Kabul and Herat - that the stabilisation of Afghanistan must also be a goal for the countries in the region, without whose contribution it would be difficult to arrive at any solution.
In this respect, we must not ignore the weight Iran carries in this regional crisis. We expect Teheran to behave as a responsible regional actor. I hope that positive developments in the near future will support the idea to invite also Teheran to the Trieste Conference. Of course we shall make up our mind keeping a close consultation with our partners.