Following the intensive talks between neighbours in the past two weeks, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg visited the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. In Rome Schallenberg also met for talks with the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, among others.
The discussion with the Italian Foreign Minister focused on the cooperation between neighbours in order to work together to overcome the challenges connected with COVID-19.
As neighbours, we are closely connected not only as humans and culturally but also, in particular, economically. This is why we want and need to tackle the health and economic crisis together.
explained Foreign Minister Schallenberg.
At the press conference Foreign Minister Di Maio emphasised the good cooperation in securing cross-border passenger and goods transport and thanked Austria for its support during the crisis.
EU reconstruction aid was also discussed, with Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasising that Italy is Austria’s second most important trading partner and that there is therefore great interest in a strong and stable Italy. Showing solidarity, Austria will therefore make its contribution to the economic reconstruction of the countries particularly hard hit by the corona crisis.
In this question, for us it is not at all a matter of ‘if’ but rather of ‘how’. We will participate in a solution constructively.
confirmed Foreign Minister Schallenberg.
Foreign Minister Di Maio also found clear words:
We need a sign of unity and strength to respond immediately to this unprecedented crisis.
Austria and Italy have also been working hand in hand for years to bring about the accession of the Western Balkans to the EU. Both Foreign Ministers expressed optimism that these efforts will continue to produce positive results in the future. In the case of Libya, too, it was agreed that the arms embargo was a prerequisite for a peace process.
Foreign Minister Schallenberg spoke with the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, about the protection of Christian minorities in the Middle East and the role of the Church as a mediator in crises.