The Quirinale Palace, 17/12/2018
Most Excellent Dean,
Chairmen of parliamentary Committees,
Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors,
Dear young diplomats,
First of all, I would like to thank the Most Excellent Dean for his best wishes - very much appreciated - which he has addressed to me on behalf of all of you and for his thoughtful reflections. They have effectively made the sensitivity with which all of you, attentive analysts of international relations and interpreters of the foreign policy of your Countries, look at Italy, at Europe and at the economic situation that the international community as a whole is going through.
To the Governments that you represent, to you, to your families and to your collaborators, I send my most fervent wishes for the next festivities, together with a shared wish of serenity for the year that is about to begin.
Allow me to address a particularly warm greeting to the young diplomats of the Italian Republic who won the last competition and who - as has been happening for some years now, in what has become a tradition - are taking part in this ceremony. I wish them all the best for the coming festivities and for their future service to the country!
We are about to leave behind twelve particularly intense months, marked by events that will leave their mark on history.
2018 was the year of remembrance and memory. A year marked, as the Dean recalled, by the centenary of the end of the First World War, and also, with regard to Italy, by the 70th anniversary of the entry into force of the Constitution, the foundation of our democracy, the symbol of the rebirth of the Country and its will of redemption in the international context, after the dark years of dictatorship and war.
Memory helps us; and it urges us to avoid the mistakes of the past.
A past of irresponsibility, both individual and collective,, in which even shame stands out, such as the tragic adoption of racial laws in Italy, whose 80th anniversary fell this year.
A future of peace and prosperity - and this is the lesson of memory - can only be born from the convinced awareness that dialogue and not conflict represents the instrument for affirming values, principles and interests of each community in the context of the wider community of peoples.
The tumultuous technological development of these years - and the consequent transformations taking place in our societies - must not be at the service of contexts and power logics: it would be fatal, just as it was fatal, for millions of young people, on the battlefields, to apply to war the devices made available by the first industrialization at the beginning of the last century.
A war, the one that ended a hundred years ago, that in just twenty years gave rise to another bloody conflict, which involved, even more extensively, the entire planet.
The Italian Constitution is daughter of this suffering and, at the same time, of a vigorous spirit of rebirth, firmly anchored in the principles and values that were the basis of the fight against Nazism and Fascism.
Unlike the generous attempts that emerged after the First World War, and based, however, on the principle of balance between the great powers, after the subsequent conflict it was possible to give life, among multiple sufferings, to a spirit of ethical and moral rebirth in the fight against totalitarian ideologies: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is its daughter, also approved in 1948.
With that document - about the rights of every person - humanity tried to defend itself by means of an ever-present text, which day by day urges the Institutions of all Countries and the citizens' conscience to implement it.
The promotion of rights, an active, attentive and constant promotion - to which both the Constitutional text and the Universal Declaration recall - represents a necessary tool not only for the prevention of new conflicts, but also in the construction of peaceful, stable and inclusive societies, the only solid basis for shared prosperity.
Italy feels the responsibility, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, starting from next month, to contribute to the affirmation of the effective universality of the rights of freedom and equality.
The awareness that the mistakes of the past were not to be repeated has helped the Italian Republic to contribute to a continental path in which opposing nations, in the ups and downs of history, have been able to unite to decisively take the path of European integration and Atlantic solidarity.
The extraordinary success of this path - most of all, in terms of peace, well-being and social growth - confirms the fact that Europe is, above all, a community of values, based on respect for human dignity, democracy, equality and the prevalence of law. Values that have marked all the stages of the history of the continental integration project, especially the most delicate ones.
The commitment and energy that the Countries of the Union have invested in recent decades have increased the quality of life of European citizens.
They have increased their rights and strengthened their protection, they have removed barriers, ensuring freedom of movement and establishment, to do business.
Some of the limits found in the experience of the European Union do not obscure in any way the result offered to its peoples and to the entire international community. The widespread stability, the growth in the adherence to values of pacification and development have made it one of the centres of gravity in more than one scenario and in more than one theatre, as well as a model to which experiences of integration in Africa, Latin America and Asia look at.
A political vacuum which would paralyze now the old continent and prevent it from playing a useful role in international relations, be they political, economic, financial or commercial, would create a strong imbalance, jeopardising the horizon of progress for the entire planet.
The institutional and functional architecture of the Union certainly needs to be completed, improved and adapted: in this process Italy intends to continue to be a protagonist. The important thing is that to prevail will be not block signs united only by obstructive attitudes, of which the only result would be paralysis.
The debate of these years will find a firm-point in the expression of popular sovereignty with the election of the highest democratic body of the Union, the European Parliament, next May.
Most Excellent Dean,
Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors,
many crises are thickening at the borders of Italy and of the European Union: in addition to the instability present in the Mediterranean area, in the Middle East region, there is also the instability in the East.
Principles such as sovereignty and territorial integrity, free trade and freedom of navigation cannot be subject of dispute.
Tensions, when not real tragedies, are also recorded in areas far from our borders but not for this reason far from our consideration, in Latin America, in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia.
Do we believe that we need to work to prevent disputes and difficulties, or do we intend to feed them?
This reality, in its multifaceted complexity - in which conflicts and planetary phenomena intersect, direct or indirect consequence of the action of man - has a common characteristic.
No challenge can be faced and won by individual Countries.
We can not tackle climate change, oppose pollution, or manage migration alone.
The subtle pervasiveness of transnational crime or terrorism can not be fight effectively without a dense network of contrast with the Countries of all continents united. This serious danger continues to manifest itself, most recently with the killing in Strasbourg of five people and, among them, our young compatriot Antonio Megalizzi.
People can not be guaranteed security if their human rights are not respected: to be more secure, the world needs fairness and freedom.
Technological progress - and its increasingly evident impact on society and on the rights of everyone – can not be guided without rules that strive to understand the entire planet.
These are issues that are leading to changes of exceptional magnitude within our societies, but also in the life of international relation.
The last century has given us a system of rules and institutions which, by favouring dialogue and confrontation, even between strongly opposing positions, has made it possible to avoid major conflicts and to intervene - unfortunately not always with the due promptness or maximum effectiveness - to stem the outbreaks which have gradually manifested. A method, therefore, that even if imperfect, has managed to cool down tensions and give time to diplomacy to do its work.
This is an important heritage, which we can not underestimate or relegate to the past.
The challenges of today are, in some respects, qualitatively different from those of yesterday, but their effects, pervasive and disruptive, are now measured on a truly global scale. They can not be managed without starting from that system and method - based on dialogue, confrontation and the search for compromise - which we have inherited and developed since the Second World War and which responds to the unresolved needs of life of international
Who regulates stability and builds equity in international relations between peoples?
If we do not apply, here too, full respect for the dignity of each Country and the democratic principle, the alternative becomes the right of the strongest, reversing the conquest obtained after the Second World War, realizing the passage from the right of force to the force of law also in the relationship between States.
The alternative to multilateralism - which sees the composition of interests and respect for procedures as its raison d'être - is only unilateralism, which deludes itself that it can live in splendid isolation, in the absence of rules and in the affirmation - or attempt to assert - of exclusive interests.
A world dominated by unilateralism is a world without friends and can only lead to growing distrust, friction and new conflicts. Conflicts that risk, in consideration of the marked and irreversible interdependence between Countries and Continents, to strike everyone in an unacceptable way.
It is a drift that must be stopped: for every agreement on arms control, especially if nuclear, that is called into question, we must create a new treaty, updated on the ground of the strategic and technological changes that have taken place.
Sometimes one hears criticism of the ineffectiveness of the rules of the multilateral order. These can be usefully updated or replaced but not removed: membership of the international community can not be partial or intermittent.
The end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century has often seen us busy with localized challenges, somehow "containable" through punctual and targeted actions.
On the contrary, the present and the future pose us with cross-cutting challenges and very far-reaching questions, some of which are of unavoidable urgency, such as climate change. They could radically transform the relationship between humanity and the planet and therefore it is not possible to be satisfied with shy understandings. Instead, we need courageous and shared choices - authentically multilateral choices - that mark a path to be followed faithfully, for the good of all.
Technological progress - and the exponential expansion of the possibilities and risks it entails - has a profound impact on the fundamental rights of each individual, on the relationship between the State and the citizen as well as on the relationship between the States, achieving, together with unexpected advances, profound and irreversible effects, especially in the work world.
These effects are likely to lead to new, deep-seated caesuras within societies and to the arise of new pockets of poverty.
Therefore also in this are a constant and concerted effort is needed to prevent phenomena, positive in themselves, from resulting in an undue compression of rights, each of which represents an extraordinary achievement of civilization.
Most Excellent Dean,
Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors,
these are real "knots" that, together, we will have to untie, to allow future generations to reach further goals of authentic progress. Results that only constructive and fair dialogue and confrontation, in the interests of our peoples, can bring within our reach.
On these goals you too - the young talents of the Farnesina - will be called to confront yourselves, for the benefit of our Country and of the entire international community.
With these wishes I renew to your Countries, to all of you and to your families, my warmest greetings for the coming Christmas holidays and for a peaceful new year.