P r e s s R e l e a s e
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, have sent a joint letter to the mayors of Italian and German twin municipalities.
The intent is to reinforce the deep ties that exist as regards the territories, and to acknowledge the commitment and closeness shown during the most acute phase of the Covid-19 emergency.
Dear Sir/Madam Mayor,
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the whole of Europe has been forced to face challenges never seen before. Many people have lost family members, friends and neighbours, have been deprived of their livelihoods and prospects for the future. We have had to learn to deal with restrictions that would have been deemed unthinkable until recently.
In recent months, Italy has suffered particularly from the pandemic, Italians have respected the restrictions with courage and discipline. Dramatic images from Italy have made their way around the world. They deeply moved people in Germany as well.
The gestures of solidarity that have followed since, in a network of over 400 twinningsbetween Italian and German cities, were important signals that instilled courage and hope during this crisis. Whether through video messages, donations or even simply exchanges of information on the local situation and on the best ways to help: all this has shown that Italians and Germans are close one to another, even and especially during difficult times.
We wish to personally thank you today for the deeds of mutual understanding and coming together carried out for decades in support of the respective communities in Italy and Germany and above all for the impressive commitment made to your citizens during the pandemic.
Every day you give a priceless contribution to combating a virus that knows no boundaries. The cities and municipalities in Italy and Germany have, in just a few days, reorganized municipal work and developed additional solutions to help people during the crisis. Municipalities throughout Italy have, for example, launched solidarity projects to support elderly citizens above all, from providing transportation to the doctor to supplying groceries. Many German cities have offered treatment options for Italian patients with Covid-19; 44 seriously ill patients from Lombardy were transported to hospitals throughout the federal territory with a one-of-a-kind airlift. A few days ago, the last recovered patients have returned home.
Your great commitment, often of a highly personal nature - from school exchange programs, to voluntary projects, to cooperation between large cities in the C40 network for greater environmental protection - you have always represented, even beyond this crisis, a genuine and real Europe that transcends national borders. The varied ties and the friendships thus born are an invaluable asset that makes Europe strong in these extremely trying times.
Cohesion is paramount now more than ever. Your cities and municipalities are being hard hit by the economic and social consequences of the crisis and will continue to be so for a long time. The pandemic has shown that we can only find convincing answers to these dramatic repercussions if we stick together.
Therefore we would like to encourage you personally to capitalize on the experiences made during the pandemic and further strengthen the exchange in the twinning network between German and Italian cities related to the topics that unite the Municipalities in Italy and Germany, for example through digital conferences at regular intervals. Perhaps you can also encourage neighbouring municipalities or others with whom you are in close contact to build new municipal partnerships.
For our part, we will turn to the governments of our two countries with the request to ascertain what may be done to promote municipal cooperation between Germany and Italy.
Italian-German collaboration is central in order to have a strong, supportive and future-oriented Europe. Municipal work that crosses borders is an essential contribution to thisend. We wish you strength, success and all the best to face the enormous challenges that are before you.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier
The President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella