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Maas in Italy – an energetic reboot for Europe Italy

Foreign Minister Maas boarding the aircraft to Rome

Departure for Rome, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.net

22.06.2020 - Article

During his visit, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas paid tribute to Italy’s achievements in the fight against coronavirus and, ahead of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, underlined the importance of economic and social recovery in Europe.

What still seemed highly improbable three months ago is now possible again – Heiko Maas is visiting Rome at the invitation of his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio. The two Foreign Ministers are in extremely close contact, with Di Maio visiting Berlin as recently as 5 June. The visit to Rome highlighted once again that Italy and Germany are working in concert on Europe’s economic and social recovery, on boosting geopolitical influence and in their engagement in Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, whose role is to implement the arms embargo in Libya.

Working together to tackle corona – visit to Italian doctors and researchers

The pandemic affected Italy particularly early and severely. During his visit, Maas will meet doctors, researchers and nurses at the Istituto Spallanzani, which found itself at the epicentre of the pandemic, especially in the first weeks after the outbreak. The impressive achievements of the institute’s staff saved many lives, both in Italy and the rest of Europe. During the worst weeks of the corona crisis, Germany and Italy worked closely together in a spirit of solidarity, both as regards aid supplies and the treatment of critically ill patients who were flown from Italy to Germany.

Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU – a reboot and influence for Europe

Maas firmly believes that Europe now needs to rapidly achieve a robust economic and social reboot. This is also the main priority of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, which begins on 1 July under the motto “Together for Europe’s recovery”. Maas and Di Maio agree that courageous steps and solidarity are now needed so that Europe can recover from the impact of the pandemic and look as one to the future. No country should be left behind. Although the European partners have not yet reached the goal of their negotiations, the openness to change is perhaps greater than almost ever before. Germany thus wants to do its utmost to reach a compromise of benefit to all in the first weeks of its Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI – the key to peace in Libya

Europe needs to regain its strength both internally and externally. One key to this is to make the EU more independent as regards foreign policy and to boost its geopolitical influence. Only together are the member states able to take political action and to play a greater role in resolving conflicts. Foreign Minister Maas is underlining this priority of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU with a visit to the headquarters of Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, which monitors the arms embargo in Libya and plays a crucial part in the Berlin Process and efforts to foster stability in the country. Along with Luigi Di Maio, Maas is thus emphasising that Europe is willing to take on international responsibility.

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