Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (9 May) prior to his departure for Italy:
To me personally, Sicily is symbolic of the partnership between Italy and Germany in action. I am happy to be spending Europe Day with citizens in Sicily. After all, Europe is not merely about Brussels and the member states’ capitals, but all parts of our beautiful continent. The common European project thrives on the many interactions between individuals far away from high-level policymaking. I am very much looking forward to my talks and to getting an insight into how things are locally. We also want to make it clear that Sicily is not facing its particular challenges alone. Because at heart Europe is about solidarity.
On Friday at the Biennale Arte in Venice, the focus is on how individuals can shape their world. I will be presenting the German contribution there, which looks at the major issues of our time: how are we changing the world, and how are we handling the changes? What does this mean for the individual? Art is society and cultural policy is social policy – as the Biennale will confirm once again this year.
Foreign Minister Maas will mark Europe Day today by visiting Ravanusa and Sutera and discussing the future of Europe with local people. He will also be meeting representatives of the anti-Mafia movement “Addiopizzo” and the Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando. On Friday, Foreign Minister Maas will introduce the contribution of curator Franciska Zólyom and artist Natascha Süder Happelmann in the German Pavilion at this year’s Biennale.