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Strong partners for Europe – Foreign Minister Maas visits Italy Italy

23.03.2018 - Article

On his third trip abroad since taking office, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Italy, a crucial partner for a new start in Europe.

Foreign Minister Maas travelled to Rome on 23 March, where he met his acting counterpart, Angelino Alfano. Their talks focussed on the future of the European Union. How can the economic and monetary union be made more resilient? What instruments can make the EU stronger in foreign policy? As the eurozone’s third-largest economy, Italy, an EU founding member, plays a key role in the search for answers.

Pro‑European message
Maas discussed Europe's future with students in Rome.
Maas discussed Europe's future with students in Rome.© Inga Kjer/photothek.net

Following the Italian general election on 4 March, it remains unclear what the country’s future position on the EU will be. The large gains by eurosceptic parties have caused uncertainty. As no political group holds a governing majority, months of negotiations are expected. The aim of Foreign Minister Maas’s visit is thus not only to underline the strong partnership between Germany and Italy, but also to send a pro‑European message.

Eurosceptics often depict the EU in a distorted way as an abstract project for the elite. In order to breathe new life into the European idea, Europe must be discussed directly between and with members of the public. To this end, Foreign Minister Maas will discuss new ideas for the future of the EU with students in Rome. The German Embassy in Rome will continue the series of discussion events on Europe.

Close ties from culture to trade

Germany is by far Italy’s most important trading partner. The two countries are also united by their centuries-old cultural exchange, which has an impact to this day. Germany has more cultural and research institutes in Italy than in any other country in the world. Foreign Minister Maas will learn about the unique cooperation at first hand when he visits the Domus Aurea, the ruins of the Roman Imperial Palace, which are currently being jointly restored by German and Italian archaeologists.

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