Tag Archives: Italy

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.

Italy: two Russian diplomats expelled

Italy expelled two Russian officials on Wednesday,March 31,2021, after an Italian navy captain was arrested for allegedly selling confidential documents for cash to a Russian military officer, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

According to Corriere della Sera newspaper the navy officer sold “top secret” NATO files, and some other sensitive Italian military dossiers to a Russian official.

Italian authorities became suspicious a few months ago, after Italy’s intelligence, began monitoring contact between the Italian navy captain and the Russian military officer. After close surveillance and assembled evidence, the police intervened last night, and moved in “during a clandestine meeting” between the Italian captain and Russian military official.

According to police, “The Italian official was taken into custody, while the position of the foreign national is still under consideration in relation to his diplomatic status.”

“We regret the expulsion from Rome of two employees of the Russian embassy. We are investigating the circumstances of the decision. We will make a further announcement on our possible next steps in relation to this measure, which does not correspond to the level of bilateral relations” Russia’s foreign ministry reacted.

“We do not currently have information about the reasons and circumstances of this detention. But in any case, we hope that the very positive and constructive nature of Russian-Italian relations will continue and will continue,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has underlined.

Following the arrests, this morning Italy’s foreign ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Razov.

This comes weeks after Russian military intelligence GRU operation was uncovered in Bulgaria leading to expulsion of Russian diplomats and arrest of six officers.

EU tourism: 6M jobs at risk

Tito Livio Mongelli, Vice President of Skal Roma and head of the Academy and who will be introducing the works and directing the seminar, underlined how “we must stop thinking that everything will return as before, because we will no longer be the same: our certainties, our priorities, and perhaps also our way of working will have changed.”

In the future, “we will have to consider that we will all feel vulnerable, the world will be smaller when we think about the speed of spread of diseases, but the distances will seem enormous when we decide where to go on vacation.”

Prof. Filippo Zagarella, psychologist and psychotherapist, focused on: “the vicious cycle we are falling into: not knowing how to react to an invisible danger; we are in constant stress that depresses us, and we are getting worse and worse. In the face of danger, we automatically feel suffering, fear, and anger.

“Not being able to unload our anger against a concrete enemy, we have to find other escape ways: deny the danger or see something else as an enemy or repress our emotions or exacerbate the rules to fight this invisible enemy.

“However, we live under constant stress, and this stress compromises our immune defenses and makes also us feel badly physically. Not to mention the increased risk of getting sick precisely from the disease whose presence stresses us.”

Prof. Filippo Zagarella suggests “adopting the 4C model: knowing, being aware, training in new roles, and accepting change.

Create our “fantastic escape” to reduce stress: let’s put our mind on vacation and, as soon as possible, also our body! We will need holidays, as soon as possible!”

Prof. Matteo Colleoni, professor at UniBicocca University Milan, on the consequences of the pandemic on the demand for general and tourist mobility and on the changes taking place, highlighted how “tourism is a complex” eco-systemic sector “that includes several actors (producers, distributors, consumers, and supports), therefore, a plurality of economic activities are weakly, partially, or strongly associated with the tourism system: over ten million workers in Europe are in this business.

In the world, in the last two decades, the flow of international arrivals has more than doubled and it is a flow that largely travel by road (72% in Europe and 59% in Italy), despite the important value of air travel for business tourism and long holidays.

The consequences of the pandemic in some European regions, the high dependence of local economies on the tourism sector, e.g., in Italy we talk about Valle d’Aosta, Trentino and Alto Adige, Liguria, Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche, “has made them very vulnerable to shocks au-par of health care.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global impact of the pandemic crisis on tourism is 5 times worse than that of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The European Commission estimates a risk of loss of 6 million jobs with a strong impact on seasonal workers, young people, women, and foreigners, who are already weak at work.

The flows of tourist mobility are strongly associated with pandemic flows: tourism is at the same time the cause (in terms of diffusion) and consequence (in worsening terms) of the spread of the virus.

According to various survey results on tourist mobility choices, risk reduction has become the first factor in choosing the means of transport.

What are the possible policies and interventions for the management of the pandemic crisis in the tourism system?

Optimize the use of the policies currently in use (and their level of integration); guide and modify the preferences associated with tourist behavior and consumption; increase the resilience of the system through diversification interventions; and increase risk control levels (structural and technological surveillance interventions).

Interventions of integration of planning tools aimed at planning the activities of the sector in coherence with respect to the objectives of tourist mobility (considering the modal changes resulting from the restrictions in the transport system).
Promote less crowded destinations: in particular rural tourism and natural tourism, a way to promote sustainable tourism and meet the objectives of the SDGs “sustainable economic growth.”
Adoption of the “travel bubble” logic: possibility to move freely within certain areas (in particular in a sustainable and safe way) but prohibition of access from the outside (e.g., between Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) – increase in local tourism.

Reduce dependence on tourism demand (through the 4S policy: Sustainable, Smart, Specialization, Strategies). Rethink the entire system of mobility and transport (including tourism transport).
Speakers profiles
Prof. Filippo Zagarella is a psychologist, psychotherapist, Dean, and teacher of the training course in Humanistic Psychotherapy with a bioenergetic address and designer of psychoanimation workshops for children, teens, and adults.

Prof. Matteo Colleoni is Full Professor of Sociology of the Environment and Territory at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milan-Bicocca where he also holds the position of University Mobility Manager and President of the Degree Course in Tourism science.

Italy: Matarella proposes Draghi to lead government

The Italy head of state Sergio Matarella summoned Mario Draghi for talks on Wednesday, February 3, at noon (1100 GMT) after hearing that efforts to salvage the collapsed coalition of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had failed.
Mattarella looks set to ask former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi to form a government of national unity to tackle the twin coronavirus and economic crises battering the country.

“I have a duty to appeal to all political forces (to support) a high-profile government,” Mattarella told reporters, ruling out the only other possibility, early elections, as ill-advised given the array of challenges facing Italy.

Draghi made no immediate comment on the presidential summons and it was not initially clear which parties in the deeply fractured parliament would support an administration he headed.

Mario Draghi is widely credited with pulling the euro zone back from the brink of collapse in 2012, pledging to do “whatever it takes” to save the single European currency.

Later the banker has largely vanished from the public eye since his ECB term ended in October 2019, but his name emerged as a potential premier in recent weeks as political turmoil combined with the health and economic emergencies to form a perfect storm. President Mattarella said one of the most important things the next administration had to do was to draw up rapidly plans for how to spend more than 200 billion euros ($243 billion) from a European Union fund designed to help overcome the economic slump.

Pompeii new discovery

Brussels 27.12.2020 The archaeologists said they had discovered a frescoed thermopolium or street-food counter in an exceptional state of preservation in Pompeii.

The ornate snack bar, decorated with polychrome patterns and frozen by volcanic ash, was partially exhumed last year but researches extended work on the site to reveal it in its full glory.

Pompeii was buried in ash and pumice when the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, killing between 2,000 and 15,000 people. However, nowadays archaeologists continue to make discoveries there.

The Thermopolium of Regio V at what was a busy intersection of Silver Wedding Street and Alley of Balconies was the Roman-era equivalent of a fast-food snack stall.

A fresco bearing an image of a Nereid nymph riding a seahorse and gladiators in combat had been unearthed previously (pictured).

COVI19: Italian military to control migrants

The Italian government will send soldiers to Sicily to stop recently arrived migrants leaving holding centers after a raft of breakouts in recent days, including some by people who had been quarantined to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The government ensured citizens and toursists none of the escapees had tested positive for the virus and that most had been caught soon after breaking out of the facilities.

But the breakouts are adding to unease over rising numbers of migrants who have made their way across the Mediterranean in recent weeks. Italy largely tamed the virus after one of the longest and strictest lockdowns among Western countries. Everyday life is returning to something approaching normalcy. A requirement to wear masks in enclosed places is one of the few hints the virus is still circulating.

So far in July, 5,583 migrants have arrived in Italy, almost five times as in the same month last year, though fewer than in the crush who came during the height of the European migrant crisis. So far this year, around 12,500 have arrived, compared with about 180,000 who came in 2016 alone.

The government now plans to make it all but impossible for new migrants to break free from their initial quarantine by confining them for two weeks on a large ship that will lie off the southern coast of Sicily before transferring them to migrant centers on land. It isn’t yet clear when the ship will be in place and, meanwhile, migrants centers have filled beyond their capacity in recent days. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has promised to transfer 500 migrants from Sicily to other parts of Italy by July 28.

The government has assigned soldiers to prevent migrants leaving the holding centers. The first soldiers were due to arrive in the area on Tuesday and their numbers will eventually reach about 400, according to an Interior Ministry official.

Italy eventually slowed the initial flow of migrants by striking an agreement with authorities in Libya, the main point of departure, to fund and train the Libyan coast guard along with the European Union.

From January to July this year, 4,537 Tunisians reached Italy, more than five times the number by the same timline last year.

Dutch Rutte is «not opitimistic»

«Hard work» lies ahead said the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the doorstep of the European Summit (#EUCO) on recovery and long-term budget. However he underlined that due to prepararty period the positions of everyone became clear, and it also became more visible where the «bridges can be built», but of paramount importance is the conducting reforms in the countries which are at utmost in need of the European subsides, to make sure that this kind of situation is the last one.

«If the [member-states in need] are willing to receve subsides above the borrowing, it is very important to be sure that the reforms are conducted there» Rutte has underlined.
Dutch head of government said that he is not «optimistic», but from the other hand «you never know», because nobody is interested to «come together again», but still there are very difficult issues to be agreed upon.

«Nobody is willing to bring to standstill Brussels traffic once again in two week time, however it is not about the speed but about the content», Rutte joked whiling continuing. “Yes” to solidarity, but everything should be done that the countries, which are suffering from the crisis the most, would be able to cope with it the next time. The answer lies in the reforms of the labour market, the pensions reforms, etc. Being against subsidies, the Dutch government sill finds they are possible step, in case there are reforms guarantees, which are crucial. Because the funds should go from the North to the South “in principle last time”.

The Prime Minister has also explained the significance of the consistency of his position on reforms as a condition for two major reasons: the profound need of the stability of Europe in the “unstable world”, with such authoritarian players as China, the U.S., the situation in the Middle East, and role Russia is playing, and the second reason is the EU internal market, which should recover. He also put the Netherlands as an example of a strong internal market, which allows the country the speedy recovery in crisis.

However, Rutte has underlined, that he does not consider the veto perspective, but the power of reasoning as his major advantage, making the point that he does not have any aces in the sleeves.

“We don’t believe in grants set system. It is crucial to maintain the rebates on the sufficient level, and we still need to negotiate what is the sufficient level, and we need the reforms. If the South is in need of help, in terms of coping with crisis we understand that, because they have limited scope of dealing with it financially themselves, it is reasonable for us to ask for the clear commitments to reforms. If the part of loans are converted to grants, then the reforms are absolutely crucial, and we need guarantees that they would take place” Rutte said at doorstep of the Summit. “The EU economies should come of the crisis more résiliant, we need a strong Europe in an unstable world” he said. “The countries who are lagging behind in terms of reforms should steep up” he added.

Rutte also rebuffed the rumours and insinuations, underlining that he works for “strong’ Europe, which is also in the interest of the Dutch citizens – the guarantees instead of “insurances”. Among issues significant for his country he named the rebates.

“A weak compromise will not take Europe further” Rutte said.

The first round of negotiation has started between Dutch Rutte and French President Macron.

Mark Rutte added that he had dinner with the Italian Prime Minister Conte in The Hague, and he is sure that under Conte leadership Italy will pursue further the way for reforms. He also underlined that the personal relationship between both politicians have been always marked by mutual respect.

COVID19: Europe gradually lifts restrictions

A number of European countries are further lifting their restrictions on May 25, Monday:

Gyms and swimming pools reopen in Italy, except in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy. The country has the third-highest recorded death toll from the virus worldwide.

Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, both move into phase one of the country’s 3-phase lockdown lifting plan. People can now gather in small groups, while bars and restaurants can serve customers outside. Other parts of the country move to phase two – meaning beaches, businesses and public areas can open more extensively.

Ferry services in Greece resume to all islands and ports, as the government hopes to boost domestic tourism. Cafes and restaurants are also reopening in the country from Monday.

Bars repent in the Czech Republic – the country with the highest per capita beer consumption in the world – as the country enters its final lockdown easing stage.

As well as restaurants, cafes and pubs, the doors are also reopening at primary schools, zoos and castles.

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