Ladies and gentlemen,
My welcome address comes on behalf of Milan’s ISPI. I am honoured to be able to address you all, before we start a very promising T20 summit.
T20 is preparing the G20 meeting, which will come early after the conclusion of the Taormina G7 meeting which was chaired by the Italian government. Coming from an Italian think tank I would like to stress the importance of the connections between the two summits.
Taormina has been a difficult meeting. However, as our President Gentiloni has observed, it has allowed very frank discussions with most of the conclusions far from being pre-cooked. The Italian presidency has been successful in keeping the route towards nicely synthetic final declarations that picture the current difficulties of international multilateral cooperation but that also register the existence of values and plans of action that are shared among the 7 countries.
You all know that on some fronts the outcome has been unsatisfactory. This was the case, in particular, of the environmental chapter of the agenda, the statement on the Paris climate & energy conclusions. Hopefully, the US will be able to better understand what we are talking about and come nearer to the consensus of the other 6 countries.
The meeting’s results look better (and, to some extent, better that expected) on the trade issue and, more generally, on the diagnosis of the complex and controversial results of globalization, as well as on the themes of terrorism, inequalities, gender, food security, innovation, global health.
In my view – and, in a sense, taking into account the priorities of the Italian presidency – the results should have been much more ambitious on the themes of human mobility and Africa. The influence of President Trump’s ideas has been a relevant limiting factor, but also the leaders (and, I would say, the populations) of the other leading countries, are still far from committing adequate amounts of economic and political resources, proportionate to the immense relevance of these themes (human mobility and Africa). Everybody, including our think tanks, must multiply the efforts on these fronts. We must be more convincing also in talking of these matters with the public opinion.
In spite of a fairly decent result, the G7 summit has shown that, contrary to what some politicians seem to say and contrary to a widely held view of the media, not all the obstacles to a progressive and inclusive international cooperation come from the peculiar recent positions of the USA. Washington, perhaps in perilous ways, is pointing to some true problems. Even on the trade issue, while the reaffirmed fight against protectionism looks a very positive conclusion of Taormina, a vast amount of work has to be done to effectively implement that global truly level playing field on which the benefits of free trade depend, that fairness in commercial and regulatory practices that guarantee that all the global players play by the same set of rules.
Let me conclude that the G20 should work hard, also next year, on several of the issues that the G7 has stressed. The German presidency of the G20 has been strongly proactive in Taormina. It will certainly be a protagonist in the G20 effort to make some relevant steps towards bridging the gap between our dreams of peace and global prosperity and the complex reality of a very difficult moment of international relations. Let us take the difficulties with realism, staying away from rhetoric and from the false idea that the difficulties are with us because there are bad guys around. Let us use our think tanks to go to the heart of the problems and find humble but concrete contributions for their “global solutions”. Thank you for your attention and best wishes for a successful T20 summit.