Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very happy that my visit to Indonesia begins here with you. You represent the present - and more importantly, the future - of your country's public administration.
Indonesia is increasingly considered by the international community to be a key partner in South-East Asia, and not only due to its constantly growing economic potential, its stability-oriented choices and its respect for the Rule of Law.
As the third largest democracy on the planet, Indonesia is an example for us to look to.
It is a country that has overcome the obstacles of its particular geographic configuration and has succeeded in finding a commendable balance in handling fundamental aspects of any organised society, namely politics and religion.
Politically, there is positive dialogue between majority and opposition parties within a framework of free elections. In the religious sphere, there is inter-faith dialogue which is considered a positive experience, and not only at regional level, due to its ability to tackle delicate topics while respecting the rights of individuals and those of the communities they belong to.
Shared, common values such as tolerance, dialogue and respect for the rights of others immediately made me want to visit your country as part of my first trip to Asia.
On this basis, it is only natural for our countries to strengthen closer ties with one another in various fields, despite the geographical distance of Indonesia and Italy.
The founding values of a nation stem from its history, from the long and arduous journeys that, in our case, have made Indonesia and Italy what they are today. The more history becomes a shared memory, the more the key values of our societies can take root and grow into the future, in the knowledge that no achievement lasts forever, and that values must be kept alive in daily life.
Despite their differences, our identities share the tragic wounds inflicted by the Second World War. As this drama of grief and pain unfolded, the necessary foundations were laid for Indonesia's independence and for Italy's return to freedom, with its transformation into a Republic.
In fact, tomorrow, 10 November, Indonesia marks one of the salient events of its journey, the Battle of Surabaya, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary.
This event shaped your country's recent history, as notably encompassed in the national motto "bhinneka tunggal ika", "unity in diversity".
Indonesia offers a great lesson of wisdom and balance to the world in its entirety.
A lesson that resonates with our own continent's experience of regional integration through the creation of the European Union, whose 28 member states have also come together under the same principle: unity in diversity.
The values upheld by Indonesia have led to it becoming a key player in the international community, ever since it hosted the Bandung Conference. It is a regional power, as amply demonstrated by its active involvement in ASEAN, and a global power, as an authoritative member of the G20.
Italy and Europe were perhaps not able to seize upon the importance of a potential partnership as quickly as they could have done.
I like to think that my visit to Jakarta can contribute to starting to change this trend, so that my country's interest in Indonesia can be tangibly demonstrated, in view of further, decisive strengthening of our bilateral relations.
This goal requires, first and foremost, a greater reciprocal understanding, on which we can build more solid economic relations without forgetting the fundamental importance of the cultural dimension.
After all, unity in diversity implies, first and foremost, a cultural element. It is an effort to achieve integration through dialogue. This has been tenaciously and very successfully pursued by the Republic of Indonesia, which safeguards and celebrates in unity the many different ethnic groups and religions which make up the country. This is an absolutely essential value in today's globalised world.
It is a value that we should carefully dwell on, in Europe too, both in discussions among European Union member states, and in light of our processes to progressively integrate the many migrants fleeing war, persecution and hunger and reaching Europe every day in search for a better life for themselves and their families. Indonesia offers positive examples in this field that we should further explore.
Together, Rome and Jarkarta, the European Union and ASEAN, can significantly contribute to the affirmation of fair and respectful rules.
We can therefore develop tools that allow us to know each other better, so as to learn to work ever more closely together.
I am thinking here of the opportunities that a more extensive programme of exchanges for young people, university study grants and work experience placements for civil servants could offer.
I think also of how useful it would be to boost the teaching of our respective languages, to share our respective cultures, in the knowledge that the more civil society and economic systems interact with and understand each other, the more our countries' relations will be able to grow.
I think of the valuable insights that Indonesia's religious leaders - and I am particularly looking forward to meeting them tomorrow - can offer Italy and the European Union, at a time in which they have faced a dramatic level of migration flow. Perhaps these insights could also be extended to areas in which conflicts tend to be exacerbated by ethnic and religious pretexts.
A culture of dialogue and tolerance must always be nurtured. Positive examples, such as that represented by your society, can provide important food for thought to all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
from an economic standpoint, our bilateral relations are set to be stepped up substantially. We can count on the complementarity of our manufacturing systems.
Indonesia seems to be modernising its infrastructure and industry significantly.
Italy can make available, as well as its recognised ability to realize large-scale works, its productive apparatus's suitability for long-term investment, that tends to integrate and thus promote the dissemination of cutting-edge production models and technology. I would also like to mention our particular experience in the sector of Small and Medium Businesses. Infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, machinery, the defence industry, agroindustry and tourism could - even immediately - be further developed.
Mutually interesting collaboration projects could be launched, as shown by the notable presence of Italian businesses at the First Bilateral Dialogue that will take place tomorrow in Jakarta.
Signs of significant interest were apparent this year in Milan. In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to publically thank Indonesia for participating in the Universal Exhibition. Your country provided substantial added value to this event, promoting a better understanding of Indonesian society and its economy.
The Indonesian Pavillion was visited by an impressive 4 million people out of the over 21 million people overall who visited the Expo.
For many, the Milan Expo exemplified the far-reaching process of renewal that Italy is committed to.
From 2012 onwards, despite the economic and financial crisis that affected Eurozone countries, key reforms were drafted and approved to make Italy more competitive. Among these I would like to mention the reform of our welfare system, that of the labour market, and the more recent Public Administration reform.
The latter reform was based on the awareness that, in an internationally competitive and integrated society, it is important for Public Administration to be inspired by the affirmation of the values of legality, responding efficiently to the needs of citizens, their families and businesses, and fighting against corruption and organised crime at all levels.
These reforms will now be accompanied by incisive institutional reform, with a view to differentiating the competences of our Chamber of Deputies and Senate so as to speed up legislative procedures.
After falling for the past three years, this year Gross Domestic Product will rise again. This is an initial trend reversal, which all forecasts confirm also for 2016, by which point Italy - the second largest manufacturer in Europe - should return to a growth rate of around 1.5%. At the same time, employment is also showing positive signs of recovery.
The data for our two economies shows the emergence of opportunities that our countries can and must seize.
Shared rules, dialogue between different systems, and the identification of shared goals can make the difference.
In this regard, I trust that the reform programme positively launched in Indonesia can lead to simplified market access modalities and procedures, also progressively opening up sectors that still have restrictions on trade and investment.
We must embark upon a new phase in the relations between Europe and South-East Asia, between the European Union and ASEAN, facilitating the creation of a regulatory frame of reference able to withstand the heightened relations we all hope for.
Italy, a founding member of the European Union and member of the G7, believes that the dimension of regional integration is the only coherent answer to the progressive globalisation of international relations.
The institutional integration of ASEAN and the European Union are not easily comparable, but I believe that here too a better mutual understanding could provide interesting lessons.
Europe has drawn lessons from its motto, "unity in diversity". Indeed, in European history, diversity has often provoked conflict. However, the tragedies of the Second World War taught the peoples and governments of Europe - at least those in which democratic regimes had been established - that it was no longer a time for differences to be set against one another, but rather a time for a shared future, a shared European project. This principle is also admirably expressed in the Indonesian national motto.
In this journey toward building an increasingly united Europe, we can proudly say that Italy wanted to participate from the outset, as a founding member of the European project. This challenge saw the concept of a "shared European stance" gradually take precedence over individual national interests. A process in a way not dissimilar to Indonesia's experience within ASEAN.
The European challenge is undoubtedly a complex one, but over time it has granted millions of European citizens more freedom and security in a continent that, in the 40 years prior to the launch of the ambitious European community project, had been ravaged by two devastating conflicts.
Europe today has therefore become an essential part of our national identity. It is within this new Europe that Italy was able to find a safe haven and, most importantly, a place to tackle global challenges together, as Europeans. Challenges that can only be governed by a Europe ready to recognise that the speed and scale of change in our current world can no longer be faced at merely national level. This new dimension is everywhere present.
The aim is to achieve collaboration among regions of the world in which each of our countries can play its part in promoting values such as stability and peace. Italy in the European Union and in the Mediterranean, and Indonesia in South-East Asia can build important bridges for dialogue.
Faced with globalisation, we must also face the challenge of complementarity.
We must never be afraid of change, dialogue, opening outwards.
The openness to dialogue that Indonesia has tangibly put in place, with results that will allow Jakarta's role on the international stage to be consolidated, offers the most secure guarantee of your wonderful country's future.