Di Maio says Med must be a strategic priority for EU

Regional stability essential for Italy, US must stay committed

06 December, 17:43

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, DECEMBER 6 - Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio spoke about the European Union's role in the Mediterranean at the opening of the Med Dialogues conference in Rome on Friday.

    "Just a few days after the establishment of the new European Commission, I want to reflect on the role of the European Union in the Mediterranean," Di Maio said.

    "The terrorist threat and the exploitation of irregular migrant flows that arrive at our borders are two problems that concern everyone and I urge Europe to govern the challenges, instead of suffering them," he said.

    "The Mediterranean, with its crises and its opportunities, must become the new historic mission of the European Union: its strategic priority. The responses that the new European institutions will be able to give to these challenges will have a decisive impact on making the European Union a truly global actor. Because, as Aldo Moro reminds us, 'All of Europe is in the Mediterranean'," Di Maio said.

    "From an enlarged Mediterranean come many of the global crises that interest" Italy and the EU, he said.

    "The region's stability and prosperity are essential conditions for the stability and prosperity of Italy and the EU.

    Collaboration with countries in the area has strategic importance. This is why I made my first bilateral visit as foreign minister to the Kingdom of Morocco, a partner of reference on many topics of shared interest, and soon I will conduct other missions in countries of the enlarged Mediterranean," Di Maio said.

    "Italy continues to believe that it is essential for the United States to remain committed to the region. The Mediterranean represents a central theme in our discussions with Washington, and in January at the foreign ministry we will host a new high-level session of the Strategic Dialogue on the enlarged Mediterranean, which began with the US in 2018. The enlarged Mediterranean is also an area where Russia is regaining importance, having by now become an inescapable interlocutor for regional dynamics".

    Di Maio said "even Asian countries, above all for their economic potential" are now focusing their attention on the area.

    He said the Mediterranean represents a market of 500 million consumers where 20% of the world's maritime traffic is concentrated, with more than 450 ports and terminals, as well as a large energy hub.

    Italy's objective is "to contribute to relaunching the vitality of the Mediterranean as a platform for connectivity between Europe, Africa, and Asia", Di Maio said.

    "Italy's contribution to the growth of the enlarged Mediterranean can also count on the support of our private sector. After Europe, this region constitutes the closest area for our manufacturing base, with more than 1,200 active businesses in the area and nearly 47 billion euros in investments in 2018," Di Maio said.(ANSAmed).

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