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On the 25th of May 2016, a discussion was held at the Embassy of Italy with His Excellency Mr Aldo Amati, Ambassador of the Italian Republic to the Czech Republic. The discussion concerned Italy and the current state of relations between our countries, and the current immigration crisis from a global point of view.

Prior to his mission in Prague, Ambassador Aldo Amati had gained experience in Washington, D.C., Moscow and Tokyo. After a short introduction we moved to the question and answer debate, where we began with Italy and the immigration issue. The migration compact (an Italian Non-Paper: Migration Compact: Contribution to an EU strategy for external action on migration) deals with roles and the concept of solidarity and enforcing relationships between the EU and Africa, which we treated in our discussion. We agreed that we have to assist with structural and immigration issues in countries such as Nigeria, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Fundamentally, Italy  is not in favour of using military force. The main epicentre of the immigration isssue is bad economic policy by prominent former and current leaders across the globe.

In the debate about Brexit (the UK’s referendum about its future in European Union, to be held on June 23rd 2016, and likely resulting in the departure of Britain from the union), it was observed that, in Germany’s view, the referendum will have the effect of hardening the European Union in terms of stronger integration policy. However, we have to wait upon the result of the UK referendum; we noted that French, the Czech Republic and other nations holding elections during 2016 and 2017 could have a ‘domino effect’ to deal with concerning their own futures in the European Union, too.

Italy seeks to address the problem of how to improve levels of research development and education because, in recent years, it has suffered a loss of many employment positions; the Czech Republic has a similar problem. We have to focus on the financial system and what we can do to absorb one million immigrants – this requires  a lot of money but, at the same time, a lot of employment opportunities. The European Union needs this influx of workers to improve its labour structures. However,  bad diplomacy from the side of Germany (the leading country on the immigration issue), the outcome could be disastrous.

Article #67 of the European Union tells us about our common responsibilities, but if we look at the recent EU Summit, it is clear that we need more integration (and of course, we can look to the USA as the best example of a unified community–federation). We concluded that the problems with European Union integration stem from national self-interest, corruption and business.

The Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia do not want to take refugees from the Middle East, mainly because they are able to leverage political gain from their stance on this issue. We have also to remind refugees, before and during their journey to the European Union, that they are not here for free but because of war (see also in my earlier articles concerning which security policies we should adopt to achieve better international security across the European Union).

We tried also to understand why many people disagree with the European Union. We concluded that a lot of people do not understand the union at its higher level, as they are mired in its bureaucratic level. Trying provide these people with deeper information about the European Union, and in doing so, to gain an appreciation of its utility, is important in many respects. Support for European Union is declining; that is an undeniable fact. And we have reached a point in which it is time to improve the image of the European Union with ordinary people and to try to establish a “common” education concerning what exactly the European Union does. Additionally, we must try to establish the European Union as a self-sufficient system, because the EU is very strong, but we have to convince people of this.

“I do believe that US culture was made mainly by Italy”

Crucially, there is no possibility of a war breaking out within the EU. Germany and Italy are very strong allies, and Russia was the second largest economy partner of Italy – but this is no longer the case following sanctions against the Russian Federation. This is another reason why we need to bring stability to Ukraine; we also need Russia as a strong ally to assist with solving problems in the Middle East and, as such, must try to reach a compromise with the Russian Federation.

The European Union has to self-contained on solid ground in the coming days. Without this prospect, Italy and smaller countries like the Czech Republic, would not have any future influence in the world  and would merely be controlled by bigger and more powerful nations; from this point of view, the EU is necessary. We also have to try to ascertain what common interests the USA, the Russian Federation and the European Union may have.

Among the qualities of His Excellency Aldo Amati are flexibility and economic relations (as we see in what His Excellency achieved with the contract between the Czech Republic and Italy to trade military techniques). The Italian Embassy in the Prague tries to focus on economic relations between the two countries. The Czech Republic has also supported Italy in a non-permanent seat in the United Nations. The  Ambassador Aldo Amati tries to obtain information from ordinary citizens and to discover what Andrej Babiš (the Finance Minister of the Czech Republic, 2016) wants to do in the future, as he can be very unpredictable.

The Italian Embassy tries to spread Italian culture not only in Prague, but also to Ostrava or Olomouc (other major cities in the Czech Republic). The full integration of the Italian republic is still not one hundred percent completed because, as we know, Italy was formed of many countries together; nevertheless, they have largely been very successful in accepting each other.

I would like  to emphasise that I am an open-minded person who tries to analyse and report on what was discussed in each Embassy in an unbiased and objective way.

Diplomatic Academy Prague