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Statements of Foreign Minister Avramopoulos and former Italian prime minister Amato following their meeting (12 September 2012)
D. AVRAMOPOULOS: It is a particular pleasure to welcome the former prime minister of Italy, a distinguished figure in Europe, Mr. Amato, with whom I had very warm talks. Our discussion focused on international developments and developments in our wider neighbourhood. We put special emphasis on the general economic crisis, which is undermining the foundations of Europe, as well as on the future of our large “country” of Europe. We discussed the fact that our generation and the representatives of our era can lay the foundations, through the crisis, for a new beginning, leading Europe to its ultimate destination, which is political unification.
As I have already said, Mr. Amato is a distinguished, internationally recognized figure. He is a politician who has really served, in practice, the idea of Europe. His wisdom, prudence and views are especially useful at this time, and I really hope that he always has the strength and inspiration to point the way to a better, more secure and certain future for Europe and our two countries, Italy and Greece, the ties between which have been even further strengthened of late by our common European perspective.
I welcome him again, and I hope that during these hours he spends in Athens, as I have already said, he feels very much at home.
G. AMATO: Well, thank you for the time that you have devoted to me on this occasion. I was mostly glad in realizing how close our views are, perhaps also because our two countries have very similar problems somehow. We are both in an economic recession that is affecting a wide part of the Eurozone and we are, let’s say, committed to reforming our domestic apparatus, mostly our public administration. Perhaps we did it somehow before, but still several things have to be done, and we share the destiny, the difficulties, the expectations of all the members of the Eurozone. What we could understand by discussing with each other is that difficulties are harsh in these times, and our citizens have reasons not to be satisfied of things as they are, but it seems that both of our countries are now on the right track, and we are moving towards an increasing prospect of positive changes that should, in the not too far future, also produce visible results in terms of economic recovery and reduction of our debt. Of course we are aware that our destiny does not only depend on what our countries do, it depends equally on what is being built at the European level and at the level of the Eurozone.
What is happening now is a lesson. We are now, in the Eurozone, much better off than we were a couple of years ago, as far as the toolbox we can avail ourselves of, but I was especially pleased by understanding that you share my personal view, because it is a personal view, that Europe has to go federal, that if we want to reduce the weight of hostility that is somehow growing, and due to the present setting that we have built between the north and south of Europe, we need a different Europe, much more federal than it is now, and we can work together to build it, not necessarily today, but hopefully tomorrow.