Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Italian National Day, bienvenue à la Fête nationale italienne!
I am very happy to celebrate this great event with you today and I am particularly proud to host it with Air Canada, Ferrero and our generous sponsors from the Italian-Canadian Community.
Let me also thank the Ottawa Police Choir and Band and Italian-Canadian singer Tony Ielluzzi for enhancing these celebrations with their performances.
Today is a special day: June 2nd , 2016 marks, in fact, the 70th anniversary of the Foundation of the Italian Republic, born in 1946 after 20 years of dictatorship and 5 years of war that bloodied my Country.
Seventy years ago, Italians regained freedom, peace, and democracy. They rebuilt their country, paved the way to the economic progress and made Italy the sixth power in the world.
As Prime Minister Renzi has said: “Italy is a country that, throughout its history, has always emerged stronger from the crises it experienced. And it did so thanks to its most plentiful resource: the Italian people”.
But we must also remember that the return of peace, freedom and democracy in Italy was made possible thanks to the allied troops, who came from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to liberate my country from the oppression.
We will never forget the generosity, the sacrifices, and the blood shed by those soldiers and by the 350,000 who never returned to their homes and are now buried in War Cemeteries in Italy. We owe them an eternal debt of gratitude.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today there is also an other reason for me to celebrate the Italian National Day with pride and optimism. Italy’s economy is growing again; 450,000 new jobs have been created; youth unemployment has dropped by 6 points, and foreign investment has gone from 12.4 to 75.7 billion euro. In short: Italy is emerging from the economic crisis.
Also, two important reforms have been approved: one on the electoral system, that will favour the creation of wide majorities and stable governments, and one which will reduce the powers and the size of the Senate in order to simplify and accelerate the legislation process, and to cut the financial costs.
“Italy is back”: Italy is a country that has regained economic strength and leadership, first of all in Europe where it is dealing with the migrants crisis and the debate on the future of the EU, and in the world, where it is engaged, together with its partners, in addressing the emergencies that have forced millions of people to flee terror and war and to seek refuge abroad.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The close friendship between Italy and Canada is founded on many years of working closely together in NATO, the United Nations, the G7and G20, and on deeply shared views on all international issues.
Today the presence in Ottawa and in Rome of two Prime Ministers from the same generation, with the same ideals and political projects, makes these ties even stronger. Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Renzi have a common vision of the future, shared positions on foreign policy issues, and the same warm and direct contact with people. Even their slogans are similar: “Sunny ways,” “The time is right” “Better is always possible,” “The best is yet to come” show clearly how close they are one to each other.
But the privileged relationship existing between Canada and Italy also rests on the hundreds of thousands of Canadians of Italian origin who are the link between the two countries and who have reached the highest positions in this society. Through their hard work they have contributed to Canada’s progress and they have helped build a country that is one of the most peaceful, welcoming and successful in the world.
Furthermore the special partnership between Rome and Ottawa will experience another leap forward in 2017, with the entry into effect of CETA, the free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, which will create a market of 550 million consumers, eliminate 99% of tariff barriers, and offer extraordinary opportunities to both European and Canadian companies. For this reason, and I quote Prime Minister Trudeau, “We don’t fear the future. We invent it.”
Before concluding my remarks, I would like to extend a warm greeting to all Federal, Provincial and Municipal authorities in Canada. You can count on the full cooperation of the Embassy of Italy and of the Italian Consulate at all times.
A special thank, in particular, to the Italian Canadian MP’s: you are part of a great Community, you are the best Italian Ambassadors to Canada, you are the promoters of the extraordinary relations existing between our two Countries.
Happy Italian National Day to all of you! Bonne fête nationale italienne à vous tous, vive l’Italie, viva le Canada, vive l’amitie entre l’Italie et le Canada!