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7 months ago

Diplomatic World_nummer 56.

H.E. ELENA BASILE,

H.E. ELENA BASILE, AMBASSADOR OF ITALY TO THE KINGDOM OF BELGIUM, SHARES HER VIEWS ON RELATIONS BETWEEN ITALY AND BELGIUM Relations between Italy and Belgium are rooted in the past. The Italian Residence where I have the privilege to dwell, a beautiful neo-classic palace where the engagement between Marie-José and Umberto II was celebrated, is the symbol of the common history between the Belgian Royal house and the House of Savoy. As it is well known, King Philippe of Belgium is the son of Paola Ruffo di Calabria. Italy and Belgium can count on an excellent relationship in all fields, from political to economic one, from cultural to scientific cooperation, moving on through consolidated and automatic patterns. In the European framework, as founding Members of the European Union, Italy and Belgium are both committed to re-launch the European Union as a more integrated, united and effective organization on the international scene. It is paramount to bring the EU Institutions closer to the citizens in order to reverse the on-going trend of estrangement and disillusionment, which has indeed contributed to the (re-)emergence of populism in many Countries of Europe. 28 Italy, together with like-minded EU partners, is contributing to set in motion the reform of the European Union in order to provide collective answers to the threats and challenges of our days, from economic crisis to terrorism, from migration to climate change. We would like to realize, with our like-minded partners, a Eurozone based on a more accentuated equilibrium between responsibility and solidarity. It is also important to realise the completion of the Banking Union and to have a European Union budget able to ensure adequately financed policies in sectors where Europe can bring its added value, such as H.E. Elena Basile and Barbara Dietrich

H.E. Elena Basile, Ambassador at the opening of the exhibition ‘’Spanish Still Life’’ at Bozar. After Brussels, the exhibition will be shown at Musei Reali in Turin security and defense, migration, research and development, the so-called “European goods”. Italy’s efforts to tackle the on-going migration crisis in the Mediterranean were widely acknowledged. Thanks to the EU “Surveillance & Rescue” missions, along with the daily work of the Italian “Guardia Costiera”, many lives are saved every day. However many continue to be lost and unfortunately the obstacles that the reform of the Dublin mechanism (the obligation for the Country of first entry to examine the asylum application) is encountering, it is an indication that there is still a long way to go. A common EU migration and asylum policy, the goal established already at the 1999 European Council in Tampere, has not yet been reached. From an economic perspective, Italy’s presence in Belgium is solid and long-standing. Companies such as Ferrero, Burgo, Vitrociset and Mapei have important operations in the Walloon Region, while CNH Industrial and Saviola Group have concentrated their activities in the Flemish Region. Many liaison offices are present in Belgium and represent the most important Italian enterprises and trade associations like Confindustria, ENI, ENEL, FCA and Leonardo. The “Made in Italy” is wide-spread and appreciated in Belgium, from food to fashion, from furniture to cars. With a trade exchange of about 30 Bn Euro in 2017, the two countries are closely linked, ranking in each other’s top ten list of economic partners. Next to traditional export areas such as agri-food, textile and machinery, Italy-Belgium trade relations are growing, in particular, thanks to the exchange of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, medical devices and bio-tech. Both Countries share the same industrial backbone, composed primarily by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In Italy, SMEs have developed a very strong expertise in high-tech sectors (for instance robotics, mechatronics, nanotechnologies and bio-science) which are particularly complementary to Belgium’s flagship enterprises. Despite the historical and excellent relations existing between the two Countries, there are still many 29