Tag Archives: Italy

Draghi: avenues for peace dialogue

Brussels 19.04.2022 “So far, Putin’s goal has not been the search for peace, but the attempt to annihilate the Ukrainian resistance, occupy the country and entrust it to a friendly government. We will stay close to our Ukrainian friends: the reopening of our Embassy in Kiev is good news. Yesterday I heard from our ambassador Zazo to congratulate him directly” said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (pictured), interviewed on Sunday, April 18, by Corriere della Sera.

“The line of all allies – added Draghi – remains that of avoiding a direct involvement of Europe in the war. One of the cornerstones of this conflict is the assertion by all NATO leaders, started by the U.S. President Biden, that there will be no direct involvement of the Alliance. I understand the reasons that push Sweden and Finland to think about joining NATO ”.

“All the crucial decisions, were taken with a very wide parliamentary consensus. Since the first debate on the war, some parliaments have tried to reproach antiquities and I have been asked to say what I thought of it. I replied: this is not the time to reproach oneself with the sympathies and affairs of the past. It’s time to all be together. And I keep repeating it. Among other things, this is a debate of especially some politicians. It does not seem to me that among the majority of citizens there is time to make trials in the past ” Draghi continued.

The Prime minister also spoke about the phone calls with Putin. “I am beginning to think that those who say are right: it is useless for you to talk to them, time is wasted. I have always defended Macron and I continue to believe that as the incumbent President of the EU it is right to try every possible avenue of dialogue. But I have the impression that the horror of war with its carnage, with what it did to children and women, is completely independent of the words and phone calls that are made “.

EP: Tribute to late president Sassoli

Strasbourg 17.01.2022 Today evening, the European Parliament will pay tribute to late President David Sassoli, who passed away earlier this month, in a ceremony in Strasbourg. Council President Charles Michel,
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and former Italian Prime Minister and former MEP Enrico Letta, as well as political group leaders, will speak during the ceremony. Sassoli had been a member of the Parliament since 2009 and was elected President in July 2019 for the first half of this legislature.

In Rome, President David Sassoli lied in state on Thursday 13 January from 10.00 to 18.00 in Sala della Protomoteca of the Campidoglio. The funeral service took place on Friday 14 January at 12.00 in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

EP president David Sassoli passed away

Brussels 11.01.2022 The European Parliament president David Sassoli,65, passed away at 1.15 am on 11 January at the Oncology Referral Center in Aviano(PN), Italy, where he was hospitalised since December 26, 2021, the press-person Roberto Cuillo has informed on Twitter micro blog. The date and place of the funeral will be communicated in the next few hours, he added.

During September Pleanry session president Sassoli was taken to hospital in Strasbourg where he was treated for a severe case of pneumonia caused by legionella. He later told his followers on social media that he had suffered a relapse while recuperating in Italy.

Mr Sassoli left a three-decade career in journalism and became a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009. He was a member of the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second-biggest grouping in the Parliament.

A number of people have paid tribute to president Sassoli.

European Council President Charles Michel described David Sassoli as a “sincere and passionate European”.

“We already miss his human warmth, his generosity, his friendliness and his smile,” he wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

EP: David Sassoli hospitalised

Brusssels 10.01.2022 European Parliament President David Sassoli has been hospitalised in Italy since December 26 due to a “serious complication” related to his immune system, his office said on Monday, December 10.

David Sassoli, an Italian centre-left politician, was previously treated in a French hospital in Strasbourg for pneumonia in September, when he fall ill abruptly during the Parliament Plenary session.

“This hospitalisation (in Italy) was necessary because of a serious complication due to a dysfunction of the immune system,” his office said in a statement.

Sassoli, 65, has been president of the European Parliament since 2019. His term ends in January 2022 and he is not expected to seek a second mandate.

Many dignitaries sent to Sassoli wishes for recovery, including the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

Venice Floating Nativity

Brussels 06.12.2021 Venice has been attracting people for hundreds of years, and with a natural setting as its lagoon, where even a floating nativity scene has become an open-air artwork.

The floating nativity scene brings the magic of Christmas in the lagoon of Venice with baby Jesus emerging from the waters, surrounded by a floating Joseph and Mary under the sunset near the island of Burano.

Due to the changes of sunlight throughout the day and with the water enhancing the colours of the silhouettes, the scene offers an atmosphere of serenity throughout the day.

The artwork, created by Francesco Orazio, a greengrocer with an artistic talents, was completed on Saturday, December 4, in an open stretch of water, out of the way of vessels.

The painted plywood Nativity figures were fixed by wooden stakes and then anchored on the bottom of the lagoon. And, for a couple of hours a day, the feet of the statues are exactly level with the water.

Maltese MEP Metsola ascends President’s seat

Strasbourg 24.11.2021 The European Parliament’s largest group the EPP on Wednesday, Nov.24, nominated Maltese MEP Robert Metsola as their candidate to lead the House.

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) chose Metsola during a Wednesday night vote, putting her in a prime position to potentially replace incumbent President – Italian Socialist David Sassoli, when his term expires in January.

Metsola received 112 votes in the first round of the group’s internal election, while her competitors received much less: Dutch MEP Ester de Lange got 44 votes while 18 voted for Austrian MEP Othmar Karas, according to the EPP officials.

“I’m truly honored to have been given a strong mandate by the EPP group to be our family’s candidate for president of the European Parliament,” Metsola told reporters at a press conference alongside EPP leader Manfred Weber.

If elected, Metsola would be the first Maltese official to win one of the EU’s top jobs. But her victory on Wednesday only begins a campaign that promises to be heated.

Metsola is said to have the backing of political groups beyond the EPP, but she may still have to compete for the leadership post against Sassoli and a few other candidates from the Greens and European Conservatives and Reformists.

MEP Puigdemont arrested in Italy

Brussels 24.09.2021 Member of European Parliament, Catalan politician Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain after a failed secession bid for the region in 2017, was detained Thursday, 23 September, in Sardinia, Italy, his lawyer said.

MEP Puigdemont, who moved to Belgium and was elected there as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), has been fighting extradition to Spain, which accused him and other Catalan independence leaders of sedition.

Lawyer Gonzalo Boye said Puigdemont was detained when he arrived in Sardinia, where he was due to attend a cultural event this weekend.

The circumstances under which Puigdemont was taken into custody were not announced. Boye wrote on Twitter the Catalan politician was detained under a 2019 European arrest warrant, even though it had been previously suspended.

Police at the airport in northern Sardinia didn’t answer phone calls Thursday night after the arrest, the AP news agency writes, while police in the city of Alghero said they weren’t aware of his detention.

The European Parliament voted in March to lift the immunity of Puigdemont and two of his associates. In July the three EU lawmakers failed to have their immunity restored after the European Union’s general court said that they did not demonstrate they were at risk of being arrested.

Sardinian media reported earlier in the week he was due to attend an event in Alghero on Sunday, so his presence on the Mediterranean island had been expected. Sardinian media had also reported that Puigdemont was invited by a Sardinian pro-independence group.

Puigdemont’s office said in a statement that he had traveled to Alghero from Brussels to attend a folklore festival where he was detained upon arrival by Italian police. On Friday, September 24, Puigdemont will appear in front of a judge in the city of Sassari who would rule on whether he should be freed, the statement said.

Puigdemont and a number of his independalist colleagues fled to Belgium in October 2017, fearing arrest after holding an independence referendum for Catalonia that the Spanish courts and government said was illegal.

Nine Catalan independalists received prison sentences for their role in the 2017 referendum ranging from nine to 13 years. They were pardoned in July.

EU committed to defeat Da’esh

Brussels 28.06.2021 “The EU remains firmly committed to the Global Coalition against Da’esh. The job is not yet finished in Iraq and Syria, where the core of Da’esh is still active, even if gone largely underground. Stabilisation and reconstruction are key to prevent its resurgence. We also see a growing influence of Da’esh in areas already made vulnerable by conflict, including West Africa and Mozambique. The pandemic and its impact on local economies are also creating new opportunities for Da’esh to exploit” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, while addressing in Rome the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against Da’esh.

“This is why our collective action remains crucial to ensure sustainable progress” the diplomat continued.

“In Iraq, the EU has invested over €1.3 billion since 2014 in development, humanitarian and security assistance. Since 2017, we support civilian Security Sector Reform through an EU Advisory Mission (EUAM Iraq), with a team of up to 80 international staff. The mission works very closely with the Ministry of the Interior and will soon extend its presence also to Erbil.

“When I met with Foreign Minister [of Iraq, Fuad] Hussein last week, I also announced the deployment of an EU Election Observation Mission for the October elections.

“On Syria, we continue to push for a political solution in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We insist on the importance of non-normalisation with Syria in order to maintain pressure on the regime to engage in the UN process. In March, the EU co-chaired the 5th Syria Conference in Brussels to mobilise the international community in support of the Syrian people.

“The EU also supports the stabilisation of the North East with projects to build resilience against radicalisation, prevent violent extremism, and in support of vulnerable children and youth.

[The humanitarian and security conditions in the camps remain difficult. The EU visited the region last week and will launch new stabilisation assistance, including for camps and prisons.]

“Turning to Africa, I warmly welcome the new Coalition members from the African continent who join us for the first time today.

“In Sahel, we have to pay closer attention to the region: in Central Mali we see every day two grave security incidents causing deaths or injuries. This is of concern to all of us. For this reason, the EU is committed to keep up its military and civilian engagement. We have three [Common Security and Defence Policy] CSDP missions in the region, with around 1,000 staff to support host countries in the fight against terrorism. The EU also supports the G5 Sahel Joint Force and stabilisation efforts in support of local populations.

We again welcome a role for the Coalition in the Sahel region. A role that has to be played in close coordination with international efforts in the framework of the Coalition for the Sahel.

Finally, on Mozambique. The humanitarian and security situation in Cabo Delgado is rapidly deteriorating. At the request of the Mozambican government, the EU is finalising the planning for an EU military CSDP mission aimed at providing human-rights compliant training and capacity building to selected units of the Mozambican armed forces.

The EU is further engaged with humanitarian, development and stabilisation assistance adding up to nearly €60 million for projects to build confidence between security forces and local communities.

“Two years after the defeat of Da’esh by Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, it is clear that there is still much work to do. The EU will continue to do its part, together with the Global Coalition and its partners”.

Venice: cruise ships polemics

Brussels 13.06.2021 The first cruise ship to leave Venice since coronavirus restrictions were eased set sail on Saturday, June 12, but some groups of local residents protested over the return to ‘ante-COVID19’, opposing the practice of the passage of giant liners through the historic lagoon city.

After 17 months of interruption due to a pandemic sanitary measures, a first cruise ship set sail on Saturday, June 12, in Venice, arousing the controversy between supporters and opponents of the presence of these sea monsters in the picturesque Italian lagoon.

The two camps each demonstrated on their own to defend their positions: as the huge silhouette of the MSC Orchestra loomed off St. Mark’s Square, demonstrators waving “No to cruise ships” banners shouted their opposition on board small motor boats.

Defenders of the environment and cultural heritage accuse the large waves generated by these ships, several hundred meters long and several storeys high, of eroding the foundations of the buildings of the Serenissima, a Unesco heritage site, and endanger the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon.

Supporters of cruise ships, for their part, highlight the jobs their presence generates for Venice, whose economy depends mainly on tourism, which particularly affected it during the pandemic. They point out that the cruise industry is one of the most significant growth sectors in the tourism market.

Over the past few years, the cruise market has seen an enormous growth in numbers of travellers, while an increasing number of new cruise destinations are emerging. This growth has given rise to a demand for very large cruise ships, however local populations have not profited proportionally from these wealth, facing burdens more than advantages.

Italy: Draghi reopens tourism

Brussels 14.05.2021 “Our goal is to reopen Italy for tourism, domestic and international,” Italy Prime Minister Mario Draghi said as he answered questions from Parliament on Wednesday, May 12.

“The pandemic has had vast economic effects on the tourism industry and we’re working to get it going again as soon as possible and in maximum safety.”

While the first step is to vaccinate as many residents of Italy as possible before the summer, Draghi underlined, he also indicated that Italy would revise its strict rules on entering from overseas.

Italy could be ready to welcome back Americans with limited restrictions this summer.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio recently announced that the country’s quarantine requirement could be lifted for eligible travellers arriving from the United States as early as June.

The mandatory five-day quarantine when entering Italy doesn’t seem to bother some of the enthusiastic tourists, who said all you need is a negative PCR test and respect of the restrictions.

The significant influx of visitors was noticed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Tuscany. Out of the 21,000 visitors last week, only 10% were foreigners and the rest Italians travelling from other parts of the country, the Gallery’s director Eike Schmidt said.

Foreigners living in Italy are taking advantage of having the country to themselves to travel around at lower prices, with shorter queues at museums and less problems over booking of fancy restaurants.

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