Thursday, 12/12/2019 | 12:19 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Gentiloni: “A two-speed Europe? It’s a possibility, let’s restart with the six founding countries” (La Stampa)

"It's right to talk about a two-speed Europe, although it isn't the best definition, because opposing views must and can coexist": the Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni thus announces that during the next meeting in Rome, between colleagues from the six founding countries of the EU, a "common view of the future of the Union" will begin to be outlined. His words set a potential course to harmonising the different positions of many member States on burning issues like immigration.

Mr Minister, the latest news from Europe is that special Swedish flights will repatriate 80,000 migrants. What do you think about that?

"Repatriation must be part of a common European action, not a subject for sound bites".

And what are your thoughts on the Danish provision regarding seizures from migrants?

"It is something which, in cultural terms, Europe should never see. It's like charging council tax on homeless people. And anyone who is aware of the dramatic circumstances of these migration routes will struggle to understand how it can be enforced. To me it looks like legislation implemented for show and mostly to gain domestic approval".

Are we risking the end of Schengen?

"I hope not, but hope is not enough, something has to change. We cannot continue with the Dublin rules, which make the countries where migrants first arrive responsible for giving them asylum or refusing them. A European right of asylum, a European repatriation initiative and a European border police force are required. Without this leap forward, we risk having to sacrifice the free movement of people.

Might the solution to the European crisis be a potential two-speed Europe?

"A few weeks ago, I wrote an article with the British foreign secretary: the definition of a two-speed Europe is not the best, but it is right to talk about different levels of integration. There are some, like Italy, who want a growing banking, fiscal and political union, and some, like the United Kingdom, who only want a more efficient common market. These two visions must and can coexist".

How?

"We'll start discussing it in Rome, at a meeting between the foreign ministers of the six founding countries, sixty years since the instituting treaties were signed".

Renzi and Merkel will be meeting today: what can we expect? Yesterday, our prime minister clearly told the FAZ that Germany is wrong to focus on the relationship with France�

"One thing is certain: Italy and Germany are leading players on the European scene, they have differences on economic rules but they can work on a common vision for the future of the Union".

Meanwhile, in Italy, the week was marked by the visit of President Rohani. What do you expect from the relationship with Iran?

"The political significance is very clear: the first visit to the West was made to Italy, not by chance, but as a consequence of a relationship that began 60 years ago and also continued in recent times. In a context in which everyone will be competing for this market, this primacy is not enough, but Italy has a small initial advantage".

Which we pay for, however, by covering up one thousand-year-old statues?

"That is an incomprehensible act of foolishness".

Rabbi Di Segni found the visit intolerable, especially on Remembrance Day

"Italy celebrated Remembrance Day with all the commitment it deserves. The visit by Rohani has nothing to do with that. Naturally, I understand the concern expressed by Israel, the security of which is crucial for us. But I don't share the Israeli government's opinion of the nuclear agreement, which I believe has avoided, not created, a threat. And the coming months will tell us if, as I hope, diplomacy will have produced positive results in the region".

In the negotiations on Syria, for example? They don't seem easy

"The start of talks today, which I hope will take place, will only be preliminary. At most, they will be what diplomats call "proximity talks", which translates into the UN High Commissioner De Mistura shuttling between two parties that will not meet. The negotiation path is narrow, and made even more arduous by the soaring tension between key countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, but there is no other way to deal with the worst humanitarian crisis of recent years".

Equally arduous is the path to achieving a government of national unity in Libya: are you confident?

"There again, it has to be clearly understood, especially by the Libyan parties, that we have no alternative. A new proposal by the government will be submitted by next week. It is fundamentally important for the Libyan parties to believe in the negotiation: without this basis, it is hard even for the international community to contribute to stabilising Libya, because we have to respond to a request from the Libyan government".

What happens if, despite the efforts, the attempt fails?

"What happens is that the Libyan parties will be giving up any hope of security and of recovering control over the territory for a potentially lengthy period of time. Instead of a stable Libya, we'll have a gigantic Somalia across the Strait of Sicily. Naturally then, if a country feels threatened, it has the right to defend itself and may decide to fight Daesh in ways that are approved by the international community".

There has been talk of military intervention in the past few days. Yesterday, Minister Pinotti said we cannot allow the stalemate to last until the end of spring, while however pointing out that there will be no acceleration or unilateral action. What does that mean exactly?

"We're working to create a Libyan government and to respond to its demands, particularly in terms of security. There is no plan B involving foreign intervention, other than the obvious right to defend ourselves against terrorism".

One final question: how is the Russian dossier going? Is there any chance of revoking the sanctions?

"If in June we find that the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements is sufficient, we'll be very happy to revoke or at least reduce them. But it's too early to say at the moment".

Location:

Roma

Periodical:

La Stampa

Author:

Francesca Schianchi

Source: Farnesina

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