Quirinale Palace, 01/12/2016
Mr Foreign Minister,
Allow me to thank Minister Paolo Gentiloni for his words and to address a warm welcome to the participants in the Mediterranean Dialogues and to all those who, at the Foreign Ministry and at the ISPI, have contributed to organising this second edition of the Dialogues.
These Dialogues represent a valuable opportunity of debate.
Evidence of this is your numerous and qualified participation, which reinforces the shared awareness of the centrality of the Mediterranean Region, whose relevance stretches well beyond its geographical confines.
Our and your attention testify to the fact that this area has not fallen prey to an irreversible crisis, that this Sea and this Region are really part of a common heritage, and especially of all of us who, together, share its opportunities and problems.
The Mediterranean is an extraordinary amalgam of cultures, natural resources, scientific experience, and age-old wisdoms that have given life to a succession of civilisations of great significance.
But there are too many attacks on this ''unicum'', which should be a universal interest to protect and develop.
Our weakness lies in considering the two shores as the edges of a rift, as separate parts, far from knowing how to share what one part has to offer to the other part, thus sharing a collective fate.
Our Countries have the power and the will to restore to this part of the world its unifying nature as the crossroads between different but complementary cultures, a meeting place between civilisations that has become the "common homeland" of experiences, knowledge, trade and development, practically unmatched in the world.
It is a place of great cultural diversification, of the development of philosophies and of unequalled scientific discoveries, with priceless contributions achieved through the dialogue between different sets of knowledge, which have given rise to clashes followed by unions without precedents. A place that constitutes, or better, can constitute, thanks to the scope of its economy, one of the hubs of the globalisation process.
This is the Mediterranean that we feel to be ours.
Here, more than anywhere else, it is possible to make an effort to overcome the rhetoric of divisions and polarisations that are lacerating many societies.
It means building on the potential of a well-pondered globalisation process rooted in the aggregating culture that this Region has produced over the millennia rather than in the now widespread "short-term thinking", which often exclusively consists of syntheses that are as extreme as they are the fruit of narrow and misleading visions.
Therefore, in order to develop a positive agenda - based on the common intents of different peoples - it is necessary to start from scratch by replacing the human individual - with his or her cultural, educational and social needs - at the centre of attention, rediscovering politics as a realm in which to exercise and develop one's potential.
But this will be possible only if we fill the vacuum of intents that many concomitant factors - from the distorted use of the new means of communication, to the many regional crises, to the serious migration phenomenon - contribute to converting into a danger.
A vacuum of culture and education that converts into a loss of awareness and that undermines the progress assured by societies during the last decades.
We must work together to make re-emerge, as part of everybody's sensitivities, past harmonies and synergies, so as to be able to combat this trend and make our Countries advance - together - by bridging the blatant inequalities that favour too many crises and that afflict us.
Italy - that geography has placed at the centre of the Mediterranean - feels a special responsibility which issues from the awareness that our stability and our wellbeing are inseparable from those of our neighbours. This circumstance has long led us to take an active advocacy role and to resolutely invoke greater commitment from the international community.
Our Country can claim to have never spared any effort- especially within the European Union - in affirming the centrality of the Mediterranean area.
We reaffirm this stand with force, determined to strengthen our efforts even more in 2017, the year in which Italy will sit on the UN Security Council and hold the chair of the G7 and of the OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group.
These are valuable opportunities in which to intensify our efforts to tackle emergencies and elaborate adequate replies to large-scale challenges.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In this perspective, it is essential for the international community to give its unrelenting support, based on a committed cooperation, also through the efforts of the United Nations, to which the Countries of the Region can and must contribute.
This cooperation, this pursuit of an indispensable goal of civilisation, is above all necessary - and we will never tire repeating this - to combat the daily loss of human lives that we have been witnessing for too long in the Mediterranean and that reminds us that the migration emergency is far from being over.
The economic and demographic differences between Europe and Africa remind us that we are facing a structural phenomenon, destined to persist over time, and with respect to which only a long-term strategy - concerted at European level and together with the Countries of origin and transit of migration flows - can lead to fruitful results.
Authentic solidarity and an effective relocation and asylum system, closer cooperation with the Countries concerned - also in view of the repatriation of people not entitled to asylum - and a more incisive action to combat human trafficking, constitute the pillars of a desirable and more than ever urgent "pact" between Africa and Europe, reconfirming the reasons of human and peoples' rights, including the right to live in peace and security.
This is the cornerstone of the strategy that Italy proposed to the European Union with its Migration Compact, which hinges on long-term development and investment projects capable of fostering a harmonious partnership between continents, thus tackling the deep-set causes of the phenomenon and assuring a fairer distribution of wellbeing.
A coherent and effective migration policy cannot be separated from an equally effective integration policy. The migrants' social, cultural, linguistic, and economic integration into the communities to which they are destined constitutes a responsibility which nobody - neither the hosting Countries nor the migrants themselves - can shirk. In this perspective, it is necessary to devote special attention to the role of women, the indefatigable creators of integration, at every possible level.
for the Mediterranean to go back to being an area of aggregation and stimulus, it is necessary for the reasons of peace to prevail.
Starting with the fight against terrorism.
We must free as much territory as possible - and not only in territorial terms - from the inhuman and aberrant yoke of Daesh.
Comprehensively reinforcing State authorities - institutions, political, social, and economic authorities - is essential to avoid large portions of territory from becoming black holes, an ungoverned land.
This need is now primarily perceived in Libya, where only the legitimate authority of a Government with effective control over the territory, can assure security and a future to its citizens.
The need for a political resolution of the conflict is dramatically felt especially in Syria, where solutions exclusively based on the force of weapons will not contribute to undoing the knots that underlie the crisis, which can only be tackled and solved through an in-depth and authentic dialogue between the different players on the Syrian scene, always remembering to give prevalence to the humanitarian aspects over any other consideration.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
drawing together the people bordering the two shores of the Mediterranean towards a horizon of progress requires Governance systems founded on transparent rules and institutions, compliance with the rules adopted by the international community, a rigorous use of the opportunities offered through development funds, a new and mutually advantageous economic interdependence and cooperation, and increasing market integration in full respect for the Planet's delicate environmental and social equilibria.
This also requires a common goal of shared growth and prosperity.
This effort must begin with training, the backbone of healthy societies and an effective vaccine against all forms of extremism and radicalism.
Among other things, training is the prerequisite for promoting active participation in public life, dialogue and in the decisions affecting the future of younger generations.
A dialogue that is respectful of diversity and that promotes human dignity, an irrepressible element of our common sense, regardless of ethnic, national, or religious belonging.
The resources invested in our youth are always valuable. Giving credible replies to their expectations by creating ever more - and ever better - training and employment opportunities probably constitutes the primary responsibility of all ruling classes.
And, in the same way, offering training and employment opportunities to young people constitutes the best investment for our future and an effective antidote to the Region's drift towards instability.
This is the vision of Italy and this is the vision which Italy will draw upon as a member of the UN Security Council and Chair of the G7.
These are the challenges that we are faced with.
They are complex and difficult challenges whose solutions can neither be simple nor immediate. But they are challenges that we can overcome, especially if we all work together, in the conviction that the Mediterranean does not separate but unites.
It is with this hope in mind that I wish you all a good day.