State of the Union conference on EU at Florence institute

6-9/5, concerns and challenge of security vs rights; Italian PM

04 May, 19:38

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, MAY 4 - Europe will be the focus of the 5th 'The State of the Union' conference May 6-9 at the European University Institute (EUI). Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi will be at Palazzo Vecchio for the purpose, exactly one year after his first official appearance as premier in the same place. Renzi will be giving a keynote speech on May 8, three days after the publication on Tuesday of the European Commission's Spring Forecasts on GDP, inflation, public finances and employment. In 2014, Renzi warned Europe to focus on growth and employment as ''constituent values'' of the EU. He had then stressed the same to US president Barack Obama on April 17, saying that ''a Europe based on austerity goes nowhere''. In light of the European Commission's figures, this will once again be a key part of Renzi's speech, along with the title that the conference has been given: how to combine security needs and the protection of freedoms in Europe. The issue is one that the EU has ever more frequently come up against in recent times and is closely linked to relations between the EU and the rest of the world, a topic to be discussed on the afternoon of May 8: a Mediterranean that migrants are seeking to cross ever more. Other speakers include Renzi's Portuguese counterpart Pedro Passos Coelho, the deputy chief of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, and former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Mohammed ElBaradei. The conference will be the first Florence one for Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the second for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who spoke last year as foreign minister. Giorgio Napolitano, who in 2014 as Italian president was in the front row to watch debate between four candidates for the Commission, will on May 6 discuss with Romano Prodi the theme 'Alcide De Gasperi: a Vision for Europe, Then and Now' as part of the opening of the Alcide De Gasperi Research Centre in the presence of Maria Romana De Gasperi. Another former prime minister ,Giuliano Amato, will be presenting ''a new narrative of Europe'' for the twenty-first century, 65 years after the Schuman Declaration, with closing remarks by Undersecretary for European Affairs Sando Gozi.

    EUI president Josepph Weiler will be the 'host', as will Dario Nardella, mayor of the Tuscan regional capital that will at the same time be hosting the third edition of the Festival d'Europa, which focuses on 'Development and Cooperation' this year.

    Over 120 events - conferences, shows, and concerts - will be held in 40 locations in the city, from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Medici Riccardi, from Murate to Villa Salviati, from the Biblioteca delle Oblate to the Novoli university city.


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