The Italian government at the European Council will also confirm the importance of continuing to support the Ukrainian people with conviction
“Italy believes it is important that the EU takes a leading role in ensuring humanitarian access” in the Gaza Strip, “an indispensable objective to avoid further suffering for the civilian population”. This will be one of the key points that the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, will bring today to the European Council starting in Brussels, a summit which, naturally, will have between the main topics on the agenda are precisely the crisis in the Middle East, after the rifts registered among the EU leaders.
The Heads of State and Government of the European Union have already expressed their position on the dramatic situation in the Middle East, after the terrorist attacks by Hamas last 7 October, with the declaration adopted just a week later, on 15 October, in which they condemned with the utmost firmness the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas, urged the release of the hostages, underlined Israel’s right to defend itself in compliance with international law and the importance of ensuring, at all times, the protection of all civilians online with international humanitarian law.
For this reason, Italy believes it is important that the EU plays a decisive role in guaranteeing humanitarian access to the Strip, where 2 million civilians live. Obviously, at the same time, it must be ensured that this humanitarian assistance is not exploited by terrorist organizations to fuel their activities. Position already reiterated last week at the Cairo Peace Summit by Meloni, the only G7 head of government present, confirming the role of dialogue that Italy historically plays between Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Continue to support Kiev
Furthermore, the Italian government will confirm at European level the need to continue to support the Ukrainian people with conviction, committed to defending his freedom and the independence of his nation. For the Prime Minister, this is not the time to reduce our commitment but to strengthen it as much as possible in view of the imminent winter.
Italy, together with its European and international partners, “continues to work to build broad support for a just and lasting peace and for the principles and objectives of the Peace Formula proposed by the Ukrainian side with the aim of arriving at a Global Summit on Peace. Our commitment also extends to definition of future security guarantees therefore the High Representative should present a proposal in view of the European Council in December which will also be called to express its opinion on the opening of accession negotiations on the basis of the enlargement report that the Commission will publish between the end of October and the beginning of November”, explain sources of the Italian government.
From a financial point of view, the funds necessary for this support will have to be ensured as part of the review of the 2021-2027 multiannual budget, on which an agreement is expected by the end of the year, in a logic that, for Meloni, it must be ‘package’, also providing new resources for: the development of partnerships with the countries of the Southern Neighborhood and Africa, in particular with those of origin and transit of migrants, and the effective implementation of the new Asylum and Migration Pact , with particular reference to the needs of the countries of first arrival of migrants; promote the strategic autonomy of the EU and the double transition, ensuring financing for EU investments in highly technological sectors, both through a more flexible mobilization of funds already available and through additional resources, in the perspective of a European sovereign fund – in this direction goes the new Step platform, which incentivises projects in critical sectors (deep-tech, clean-tech and bio-tech) and contributes to restoring a level playing field in the single market following the decision to relax state aid rules, a choice which inevitably puts Member States with greater fiscal capacity at an advantage.
In this first discussion at the level of Heads of State and Government, President Michel’s aim is for leaders to express their views on their funding priorities and indicate the relevant sources of funding. There is no provision for a detailed discussion or reaching an agreement. The negotiations will continue in the coming weeks at council level to return to the attention of the leaders at the European Council in December.
Migrants, “deep satisfaction” in Von der Leyen’s letter
On the subject of migration, Italy welcomed with “deep satisfaction” the letter from President Von der Leyen on the implementation of the multidimensional approach to the migration issue agreed at the extraordinary European Council in February which provides leaders with indications on the lines of work on which to focus in the fight against illegal immigration, also on the basis of what emerged in the meetings held by Meloni on the sidelines of the MED9 summit in Malta and the European Community summit in Granada.
The letter, for Italy, “testifies to the strong commitment of the EU executive in the practical implementation of what has been decided according to an approach of clear Italian inspiration in the identification of priorities both with reference to the economic development of the countries of origin and transit (strong emphasis is placed on the model of global partnerships and on the concept of “partnership” with Africa) and on the fight against illegal migration (repatriations, border control, including strengthening the IRINI operation and the fight against human traffickers). This is the approach which inspired the EU-Tunisia memorandum and which led the European Commission to present the ten-point action plan illustrated by President Ursula Von der Leyen in Lampedusa”.
Regarding the issue of illegal immigration, Italy will also highlight the security risks that this phenomenon can bring with it, even more so in the current scenario, “as demonstrated – for Meloni – by the reappearance of the “lone wolves”” ready to strike, a danger also raised by the Prime Minister in yesterday’s speech to the Chambers.
President Von der Leyen herself announced, among other things, an imminent measure to strengthen the legal framework and European policies to combat human trafficking. Italy will therefore support, as anticipated above, the need to integrate the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework with adequate additional allocations for migration policies, both those to combat irregular flows and those of cooperation with countries of origin and transit of flows, with the aim of giving substance to the spirit of the Rome conference and strengthening the Italian proposal for a Mattei Plan for Africa.
The green transition
At the same time, Italy believes that the double transition, green and digital, must be based on broad and reliable impact assessments, on criteria of gradualness and economic and social sustainability, on the principle of technological neutrality and on financial instruments of incentive and support for businesses and citizens. The debate on the revision of European fiscal rules fits into this framework, a topic not formally on the agenda of this Council, because it is still under discussion at the level of the Economy Ministers but for which it remains necessary to adopt the revision by the end of the year.
The European Union has identified the double transition as the pillars of its future growth and has asked Member States to make significant further efforts to finance these priorities. Similarly, the EU calls for continued investment in defense and support instruments for Ukraine. Computing, in the deficit-GDP parameters, the investments that are also promoted by Brussels seems like a contradiction that risks undermining the sustainability and security objectives. For this reason, the government continues to support the need to separate, in whole or in part, these items.
The agenda today includes the leaders’ discussion focusing on Ukraine, the 2021-2027 budget, the Middle East, and, more generally, foreign policy. Tomorrow, when the Council resumes from 9am, we will discuss immigration, the economy and the Eurosummit. However, the order of discussion of the topics on the agenda may vary based on the decisions of the Heads of State and Government.