July 24, 2024

Well, I’m delighted to be here today in my capacity as G7 Chair, and I look forward, Joe, to hosting you in Puglia next June for the leaders’ summit. I’m working on a concrete and substantial G7 summit. We intend first and foremost to reaffirm the rules-based international order, defending freedom and building peace for Ukraine.
And, in doing this, I think we need to tackle the narrative that wants “the West against the rest”. So, our dialogue within the G7 with the Global South is essential.

The crisis in the Middle East is of the utmost concern. We need to coordinate our actions in order to avoid an escalation and, in this regard, we fully support the US mediation efforts.
The humanitarian crisis is our number one priority. Italy is concentrating its contribution on this. Meanwhile, we are cooperating with all regional actors that must be part of any future outcome. We should work together on concrete steps to guarantee the two-state perspective, which is the only long-term sustainable solution. And then, the Houthis’ attacks on commercial vessels that endanger freedom of navigation in the Red Sea are unacceptable. EU naval operation Aspides, that, as you know, is under Italian tactical command, is an important response to the disruption of transit through the Red Sea.

Then, building on Italy’s role in the Mediterranean, the G7 will pay special attention also to the African continent. We’ve been discussing it, many times, for I think we have to remember that Africa is not a poor continent; it is, on the contrary, incredibly rich in human and material resources, but it has been neglected and exploited with a predatory approach for a long time. I want to reverse this approach, together with you, which is also a root cause of the migration crisis. We need to support Africa’s development on an equal basis and put an end to illegal migration while fighting human trafficking. Human trafficking has become the most financially rewarding crime globally, and we cannot accept it any longer. For this reason, I came here today also with a proposal to launch a global alliance against human traffickers.

The G7 will discuss artificial intelligence as well. AI is a means, it can be a good or a bad one, it depends on our capacity to govern it, to tackle the risks and the impact it can have, for example on the labour market. We want to develop AI, but also we want to be certain that it remains human centered.

And then, last but not least, I came here to boost our strategic cooperation. Our relations are enriched by the presence of more than 20 million Italian Americans. During our last meeting here in Washington, we said we wanted to improve our bilateral cooperation and our trade, and we did it, for in 2023 our bilateral trade reached the highest amount ever with USD 102 billion of exchange.

So, I think we did a good job but I also think that we can do even better, and I hope this will be our mutual goal for this year. Thank you, Joe.