German-Italian consultations in Rome
The two delegations
© picture-alliance / dpa
“Germany only holds such intergovernmental consultations with its closest partners,” said Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in an interview with the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” before the consultations began, illustrating the great importance of relations between Germany and Italy.
At the beginning of his trip to Rome on 4 July, Westerwelle met with his Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi for a face-to-face discussion. In addition to bilateral issues, the results of the European Council meeting of 28-29 June, the further development of the European project and current international challenges were on the agenda. After their meeting, Westerwelle told the Italian broadcaster RAI that since taking up his office he had attached great importance to close cooperation between Germany and Italy and had already been in Italy for numerous consultations. Regarding the discussion concerning the European Council, he said that these close relations could withstand occasional differences of opinion.
Close cooperation on foreign policy issues
The Foreign Minister said that on foreign policy issues Germany “had been working closely with the Italian government for many years”. Westerwelle added that both Foreign Ministers had been to Lebanon recently, where Germany and Italy are trying to contribute to the country’s stability. In the run-up to the 6 July meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People, an international group to which both Germany and Italy belong, the situation in Syria was also discussed. Westerwelle said that the crisis must be prevented from spreading. On the subject of the common commitment to Afghanistan, Westerwelle said that the fight against terrorism must be continued while the withdrawal of combat troops is being started. The withdrawal is to be completed by the end of 2014.
Working together to move Europe forward
Westerwelle pointed out to RAI that Germany and Italy were founding members of the precursors to the European Union. Now, he said, we must join forces to take European integration one step forward. This, he went on, was not only necessary to find a lasting solution to the current debt crisis, but also to allow Europe to assert itself on the international stage in the future. European countries were dependent on each other and must bind themselves together more tightly, he continued, adding that decisions must be made more efficiently, more transparently, and more quickly. Now was the time, he said, to take the next step in integration.
In his interview with “La Stampa” of 4 July, Westerwelle also spoke about other political projects in which Italy was a “key partner” for Germany such as continuing to develop the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), protecting the environment and the climate and the energy supply.
In the late afternoon, the German and Italian delegations met for their joint plenary meeting. Economics Minister Philipp Rösler, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer joined the Chancellor and the Foreign Minister in taking part.
Last updated 04.07.2012