Palazzo del Quirinale 18/12/2020

Address by the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella on the occasion of Ceremonial Presentation of Greetings by the Diplomatic Corps

Most Excellent Dean,

Mr. Minister,

Mmes. and Messrs. Ambassadors,

I would like to thank the Most Excellent Dean for his remarks and the greatly appreciated wishes he addressed to Italy and myself personally on behalf of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Italian Republic.

I sincerely reciprocate, Most Excellent Dean, and kindly ask you to extend my greetings to the entire Diplomatic Corps, which unfortunately can only follow us from afar today, due to the very special circumstances we are all experiencing.

I hope that the signs of hope we can glean from the development of new vaccines will allow us to overcome our current difficulties soon, so that we can all meet in person again.

I would like to extend my warmest wishes to the States and Peoples you represent for the coming holidays and the New Year, with an even greater closeness due to the situation we are going through.

The year that is about to end, so deeply and tragically marked by the pandemic, calls for us all to engage in serious reflection.

The spread of Covid-19 has shown that challenges are not confined to one corner of the world, and therefore affect us all: they require us not to worry only about ourselves, not to misleadingly look the other way.

The need for unconstrained cooperation – a direct result of an increasingly interconnected world - arises even more powerfully from the trials we are painfully going through. Global challenges must be met with an effectively global governance.

The fight for the health of peoples and the environment is a theme that rightly fits into this category.

A common imperative right now is to curb the impacts of this pandemic, first and foremost; and this should not be limited to health, including the need to ensure access to immunization initiatives to all peoples, for the sake of a dutiful solidarity and our common safety.

Inequalities have dramatically worsened, tensions risk rising, the rules that govern peaceful coexistence appear to be violated all too often.

The international community must achieve greater unity and solidarity.

We cannot allow volatility to become a structural component of the international relations system.

We owe it, among other things, to the millions of citizens around the world affected by Covid-19.

We owe it to the future of this planet: the future is either for everyone or no one, as this past year has shown.

The circulation and distribution of vaccines - and the best treatments science is developing - require global alliances, not selfishness; they require policies that provide fair and timely access to medication, based on sharing, and not driven by profit.

Consistently with this vision, Italy has been among the main promoters of the multilateral response to the pandemic, also contributing financially to the Covax Facility, which will ensure mass vaccination, that will include citizens of middle and low-income countries.

Scientific research and extraordinary advances in technology allow us to keep looking with optimism to a future that is filled with opportunities for the benefit of all, as long as we cherish a shared sense of responsibility.


Most Excellent Dean,

My first thoughts must necessarily be addressed to the Mediterranean, a region that many people can call home. A region, however, that has gradually become the scene of dramatic crises during the last decade.

The situation in Libya and other conflicts – that are often tragically disregarded - not only generate a painful trail of grief and human suffering, but are multiplying transnational threats, terrorism, radicalization.

Action must be taken to address the deep-rooted causes that fuel these situations. Next to countermeasures, actions are needed that will impact growth and development based on inclusive and sustainable models, starting with adequate investments in education, health, culture, for young people.

These challenges are common to many areas in the world and the only way to tackle them is to engage in multilateralism with renewed vigor, against forms of resistance which, under the pretense of reviving faded nationalistic slogans, inevitably lead to tension, crises, and poverty.

International relations can only be based on shared responsibilities, transparency, the centrality of human beings and their rights; Italy, with the values of freedom, democracy and peace that characterize its Constitution, intends to contribute to this endeavor.

Multilateralism, on the other hand, might risk becoming a mere negotiating technique that is useful, at times, to mitigate tensions, but is certainly unable to guide sound choices that have value.

The Italian Republic, in the year that is about to begin, has the extraordinary opportunity to play a leading role through the G20 Presidency and the co-presidency of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP26.

Italy has decided to place three dimensions at the center of the debate: people, planet and prosperity.

Our aim is to bind these three pillars together firstly to overcome the dramatic health situation that is affecting the entire planet.

Secondly, to heal the wounds inflicted on our social fabric, remedying an unprecedented economic crisis. Finally, and above all, to lay the foundations for our future, where modern and sustainable environmental management is at the center, if we want to leave the same planet we have been able to enjoy to future generations: a planet that is rich in resources and natural wonders.

These responsibilities can no longer be postponed in a world that is showing all its economic, health, food, and environmental vulnerability with dramatic consequences for humankind, starting from the tragedy of people who are forced to migrate out of necessity.

No country, on its own, has proved to be capable of providing effective responses to crises.

We need decisive and coordinated action, led by all main actors on the international stage, where Europe can be a qualified player, making the most of the natural complementarity that exists between the two shores of the Atlantic and its increasingly complex and conscious relationship with Africa.


Most Excellent Dean,

The European Union has displayed renewed vigor through hardship, launching broad actions that have covered areas that until now had been the exclusive purview of member countries, such as public health.

Moreover, on climate change - where encouraging signs show that key players are getting back in the game – in recent weeks, the European Union took a leading role by pledging to cut emissions by 55% by 2030, aiming at neutrality by 2050.

Italy will host the World Health Summit as part of its G20 Presidency: a unique opportunity to launch a message of cohesion, unity, and effective cooperation.


Most Excellent Dean,

Mr. Minister,

Mmes. and Messrs. Ambassadors,

a large part of humankind wishes to turn the corner in 2021.

A wish that governments around the world must be able to respond to, further enriching the network of international cooperation.

All this because, in the year that is about to end, the tragic suffering we endured made us realize that this pandemic has united the destiny of peoples, further revealing the bonds and balances that deeply connect our planet and all humankind.

My hope is that 2021 will bring these expectations and intentions closer to their fulfilment, and that the world, free from this pandemic at last, will be able to increasingly appreciate the benefits of peace, cooperation, and mutual respect for all nations.