Europe is the linchpin of our foreign policy – this is the theme under which Foreign Minister Baerbock has placed her series of first official visits across Europe. Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio invited Foreign Minister Baerbock to visit Rome when they met in the margins of the meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers in Liverpool. Prior to her departure, the Minister said:
As the new German Government we have set out ambitious goals for a more sovereign, more ecological and more just Europe. Not least Italy will play a key role in ensuring that these goals can be reached one day. From the climate-neutral transformation of our economy to solidarity in the pandemic and the creation of a European asylum system which guarantees humanity and order at our external borders – in Rome we have like-minded allies who are shouldering responsibility in Europe alongside us.
Foreign Minister Baerbock wishes to even better harness the great potential of German-Italian relations, not only at the level of politics, but in all areas where people are committed to German-Italian affairs and thereby to Europe. She underscored this during her interview with an Italian newspaper:
“Ultimately, it is not merely relations between our capitals that count. It is just as important for people in our countries to feel that Europe benefits them personally, in terms of peace, economic opportunities, freedom and security – including for future generations.”
Sharing responsibility in Europe
Moreover, Germany and Italy have a shared responsibility that extends beyond Europe: at the beginning of this year, Germany assumed the G7 Presidency, whereas Italy currently leads the international organisations that focus on human rights and economic cooperation respectively, the Council of Europe and the OECD. As strong economic partners with shared values, the two countries not only aspire to, but have accepted the challenge of, making a joint contribution on a global scale. This is most clearly evident in how they are addressing the climate crisis, which has become the primary driver of conflict around the world.
While in Rome, Foreign Minister Baerbock will therefore join her Italian counterpart for a discussion on “A green revival for a political Europe” that is being hosted by the Istituto Affari Internazionali.