First of all, Mister President, I would like to thank you for the warm welcome you have given me, my daughter and the delegation that has accompanied me since the beginning of the State Visit to this fascinating country.
I was amazed by the extraordinary beauty of Riga and in particular by the Art Nouveau district, a true jewel of art that has rightly been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
I am honoured to have been invited to celebrate with you and the Latvian people the hundredth anniversary of Latvia's independence.
This is an anniversary of great significance for the history of Latvia and for that of our entire continent. A fundamental step in that long and sometimes tormented journey that led the Latvians to choose to join the NATO and the European Union.
Looking at the pride and determination of the Latvian people, we cannot fail to remember how difficult the path that led them to independence was and what obstacles they had to and knew how to overcome in order to achieve the goal of freedom.
The Latvian people have decided to embrace a model of open society, based on respect for the rule of law, on democracy, on the importance of human rights and on openness to the world. They have also chosen to share its accomplishment with the peoples of the European and Atlantic communities.
These are the values on which the process to continental integration is based. This is the path which – sometimes with difficulty, but always with firmness – our countries are following, being aware that the magnitude of today's challenges is so significant as to overcome the possibilities of the single States to face them alone.
Only together we can face and win them!
Solidarity is the word that best defines the relations between Latvia and Italy!
geography has placed us at the opposite ends of Europe, but it is the common culture that makes us feel close!
The ties between European countries are as solid as a rock and this allows us to be stronger together, to withstand crises, to defend the rights of our nations and to make our voice heard in the international arena in front of players of ever-increasing importance and size.
To strengthen the ties that unite us with ever greater vigour means to strive to get to know one another better, to understand the feelings of the others and to place our own feelings in a European framework in order to give a positive solution to the problems that all of us have to face.
It means to strengthen the friendship that unites us, which is the glue that keep any family together.
In short, it means to look to the future with the confidence and desire to build it together.
With these feelings and with the certainty that the relations between Latvia and Italy will continue to grow stronger, I raise the glass to your prosperity, Mister President, to your wife and to the strong friendship between our countries.
Uz veselību! Cheers!