Facts provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Antonio Tajani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the week begins with a new episode in the always complicated relations between the United States and China. President Joe Biden had the Chinese spy “balloon” shot down. Is the crisis just beginning?
“There are precise international rules for overflight authorization, rules that have not been followed. The legitimate decision of the USA to stop the balloon was also taken due to the strong reactions that this overflight provoked in the country.
Of course, I also notice that the incident takes place at a time when the US and China were working on a path of detente, with the forecast of a trip by Secretary Blinken to Beijing which has only been postponed for the moment. Italy is always working towards a path of detente, which however this affair does not help.
Beijing protests, and speaks of an exaggerated response by the Americans, while the FBI will analyze the wreckage of the device. Do you think this episode will lead to a frozen phase in relations between Washington and China?
«In making his decision, President Biden waited many hours, to prevent the destruction of the balloon in flight from generating dangerous debris that would have fallen on American territory. But in the meantime, American diplomacy has assured us that contacts with China have always remained active, Beijing had been warned of the action against the ball, and is now responding with an excessive reaction”.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the controversy over the Cospito case continues, after the weekend demonstrations in Rome and Milan. The Democratic Party says that the visit to the anarchist in prison was dictated by reasons of humanity, while Cospito’s health conditions risk worsening. Can we reiterate that 41 bis are not subject to negotiation?
The 41 bis cannot be touched. And it has nothing to do with humanity or hunger strikes. It’s a matter of defending the rule of law.”
Should we expect more attacks on Italian representative offices around the world?
The Italian State, and our embassies have been placed in the crosshairs of terrorist acts or demonstrative actions. We can expect other attacks, and for this, we must not dramatize the situation, but neither should we underestimate the potential dangers: every invitation to the political world to unite in the face of these dangers is shared by me and re-launched”.
Certainly, at the political level, there is a very strong clash, with Donzelli’s accusations in Parliament and the protests of the opposition. Giorgia Meloni says that there is no basis for the resignation of Undersecretary Delmastro Delle Vedove. Enrico Letta accuses the premier of “stoking the fire”. It is difficult to talk about unity at the moment…
I share Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s appeal to a sense of responsibility: let’s tone it down, everyone. The common adversary is a movement represented by a person convicted of terrorism. Let’s remember that. The political clash between the majority and the opposition favors only those who want to challenge the institutions.
I have experienced the Red Brigades, and I can certainly say that a thousand anarchists parading in Rome will not be able to destabilize the state. But we can’t let our guard down either.”
In Ukraine, there are fears of a new wave of Russian offensive. Confirm what the Minister of Defense said: will we also train Ukrainian forces on our territory?
“We’ll do whatever it takes. The ultimate goal is to achieve peace. But peace can only be achieved by avoiding permanent Russian occupation. In the meantime, we trust that concrete initiatives can be carried out to bring the parties closer together”.
Italy puts forward the proposal to establish a “safe zone”, supported by the control of the UN agency for atomic energy, around the Zaporizhzhia plant, to prevent a missile launched, even by mistake, from leading us to another Chernobyl. We follow and support the work of IAEA director Rafael Grossi, who says he wants to create a sort of “sanctuary” in that area.
Averting the disaster is in everyone’s interest, and could represent the first step in reaching a confrontation between Ukrainians and Russians in the direction of peace. The other urgency is to protect the export of grain to African countries. I also encouraged the Turkish government to continue with these initiatives”.
Would these be starting points on which to start a broader comparison?
«Yes, safety zone and grain. Concrete facts from which to start, without prejudice to our defense of the independence of Ukraine, and our willingness to be in the front line for the reconstruction of the country”.
Do you think it is still possible to return to the status quo ante, or will Kiev still have to give up pieces of territory to reach an armistice?
«We don’t know if it will be possible to return to the status quo ante: first of all, it is necessary for the two warring parties to sit down around a table. I remain convinced that supporting Kiev and seeking peace are not incompatible missions”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has been welcomed in Berlin: the Germans do not seem to budge from their solid line on state aid. Do we risk being penalized?
The risk is that there are imbalances in the internal market. Loosening up state aid will allow richer countries to support their businesses more than others. This would favor one or two countries, but not Europe as a whole. In short, it would be a choice contrary to the spirit of the European Union.
Would a community sovereign wealth fund be more useful?
“Yes, because it would make it possible to compete seriously with the United States, which is intervening with huge loans to support its businesses”.
The FAO summit on food systems will be held in Rome in July. What does it represent for our country?
It means returning to the center of the global debate on food and food safety. The representatives of 190 countries will meet in Rome, a city that will prove to be perfectly capable of hosting events of this magnitude, such as Expo 2030. It is a recognition of our commitment to multilateralism and a pride for the entire agri-food sector Italian”.
Will it also be an opportunity to oppose the European line, which would like to impose the arrival of insect-based flours on our plates, in the name of environmental sustainability?
That is an attack on the Mediterranean diet, and ultimately on our identity. At the European level, we have managed to win a battle to prevent carcinogenic substances from being added to wine, and we will certainly continue to defend our food model.
Is the “green” mentality detaching itself from reality?
I don’t share the fundamentalist line on climate change, the one that doesn’t take into account the negative repercussions on an industrial and social level. I voted against the European Commission’s proposal which aims to block non-electric motors by 2035.
It’s a very serious mistake: with those rules, we risk killing the automotive sector in Europe. And I’ve always thought that, alongside the environmental objectives, we need to set limits to safeguard the real economy.
Today we hand over five boats to the Libyan government. For what?
“We want the Libyans to be involved in regulating migratory flows. They are means financed by the European Union, and they will be used by the Libyan coast guard to fight human traffickers”.
All this while in Italy the process of differentiated autonomy is starting. With related controversies on a divided Italy, and citizens of Serie A and Serie B. The Democratic Party continues to say that this reform is inadmissible because it divides the country. What does she say?
“That bill simply enforces the constitutional provisions, without creating inequalities between North and South.”
Does this reform need to change, or if it were up to you could it go into effect without changes?
“We can imagine some small tweaks in Parliament, but for me, the project is fine as it is”.
Sources: THX News, Italian Government & Federico Novella (official author).