A warning to Europe to respect, without hesitation, the agreement ratified in July by the European Council on the Recovery Fund. And a new, pressing invitation to Italians to take responsibility with responsibility for the difficult moment in which Italy is found again, with the growth of infections.
“The progress of the health emergency caused by Covid requires the European Union to be very prompt in implementing all the necessary measures. This is why I hope that the attempts to slow down will soon be overcome ”, said Sergio Mattarella, receiving the President of the Greek Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou at the Quirinale, referring to the slowdown coming from the most riotous countries in the North, from Holland to the Visegrad front.
The conversation reveals the full harmony that has emerged between two traditionally friendly countries, and also the common concern, in the face of the worsening of the situation, for a response that is slow to arrive, from the Union. The hope is that of a stronger and more unitary awareness, both on the pandemic front and on immigration, another front on which Italo-Hellenic interests are concomitant, as both countries guarding the southern border of the EU.
The visit of the Greek president to Italy is the second abroad, after Cyprus, since she was elected. In the first weeks of the lockdown Sakellaropoulou had phoned our Head of State to express solidarity with him and in this morning’s conversation he expressed satisfaction with the seriousness with which the Italian people, like the Greek ones, have faced the restrictions following the pandemic. The Hellenic president also mentioned the incisive response that had come, albeit indirectly, from Mattarella to the words of Boris Johnson who had justified the terrible data of infections in Great Britain with the atavistic tendency to freedom of the British people. To which, Mattarella (responding to a citizen during his visit to Sassari for the tenth anniversary of the death of Francesco Cossiga) had been keen to specify that the Italians love freedom no less than the English, “but also seriousness”, he remarked. Words that the Greek president liked, and she wanted to tell him in person, considering them also applicable to the behavior of the Greek people.
It was a 360-degree turn of the horizon, the two presidents also agreed on the need for an increasingly strong and decisive role of the European Union and, as regards regional crises, of NATO and the UN. But above all, there was talk of common strategies to stem Covid. Mattarella stressed that, in order to avoid a new generalized lockdown, and to continue to keep schools, factories and offices open, it is necessary to focus on everyone’s responsibility.
“Freedom – is not an exclusively individual fact, but is realized together with others, requiring responsibility and collaboration”, are the words that emerge from the interview, to reaffirm a concept already used in the summer at the first signs of a lowering of the guard: ” Freedom does not mean the right to infect others, ”he told reporters in the farewell ceremony before the holidays.
Above all there is concern, at the Quirinale, for the climate of conflict that characterized the debate on the extension of the emergency arranged by the government and fully shared by Colle (Read also here) certainly not as a premise for a new closure, but – if anything – as a necessary premise to be able to promptly introduce measures aimed at avoiding it. Measures by Palazzo Chigi (through the Civil Protection), by the Ministry of Health (in agreement with the health authorities, think for example of the management of air traffic to and from the most infected countries), but also by Regions, with a large majority now with center-right leadership, which thanks to the extension of the emergency see special powers extended to introduce targeted and localized restrictions.
During the meeting, there was also talk of the need for Europe – keeping to the important signals launched this summer, after the outbreak of the pandemic – to follow words into action, acquiring its own resources, to face the most pressing urgencies. and to schedule shooting.
The two presidents also agreed on the fact that the reception of migrants cannot be left only on the shoulders of the countries bordering the Mediterranean, but – as in the commitments – must be taken as a matter of strategic importance that concerns the whole of the EU. . Mattarella, who in his visit to Greece had visited the refugee camp of Eleonas and had then asked that the Union use rigor towards the Member States also in terms of reception, reiterated to Katerina Sakellaropoulou solidarity for the fire in the refugee camp of Moria .
A strengthened axis, therefore, between two countries in economic difficulty which still bear the greatest burden of welcoming migrants. Without the prospect – now – also of the revision of the Dublin rules (proposed by the President of the Commission Ursula Von der Leyen) taking shape.