On this day, on 1946, the Italian people decided that Italy should become a Republic.
This was the first time that, after centuries of common language and culture, but with a very fragmented political life, the whole of Italy came again under a common State framework and, at the same time, did so in a democratic way, with the first universal vote in the country.
There’s no doubt that Italy, as a cultural entity, had been existing all along, but this was an unprecedented dstep and the beginning of the Republic of Italy.
This result was not achieved by accident and was not at all easy.
Italy had just been devastated by war, a war that Italy itself had helped to ignite, and then had suffered also a fierce civil war.
The scars of that civil war remained open for a long time and took a very slow process to heal. Yet, there was a basic convincement that rebirth and progress had to be achieved through renewed trust, to shape the new Italy.
“Looking beyond” to surpass divisions has been the most important political decision in post-war Italy and it has taken the country to become a founding member of the EEC and to host the signature of the EC Treaties in Rome, 60 years ago.
Italy, after having experienced the horror of provoking a war and suffering from it, is acutely aware of both the difficulty and the need for reconciliation.
This experience, Italian and European at the same time, is quite actual and sounds very urgent and familiar to the peoples of this part of Europe and Bosnia-Herzegovina first and foremost amongst them.
It is with this shared experience that Italy and the Italian people look at Bosnia Herzegovina and wish to walk together with its society and citizens.
Italy is proud to host the next Trieste Summit on 12 July, in the framework of the Berlin Process. The Summit will gather the Heads of State and Government, the Transport Ministers and the Ministers of Economy of this part of Europe, as an important steps toward further joint cooperation. We all know this is complex and delicate. Yet, it is the only road to common growth, peace and prosperity, open to the neighbours and to those who see the region as a bridge for greater exchanges, in the interest of all.
I’m happy that this Summit will take place in Trieste, a city that is a symbol of the meeting of civilizations, divided at the beginning of the Cold War and yet meeting point of shared histories.
In this part of Europe, as many of you know, until not so many years ago slogans were chanted in the streets saying “Trstu nas!”, “Trieste is ours!”, which was part of the Cold War climate.
Today I’m delighted to say that we can all say together “Trieste is ours” because thanks to the EU, to Italy and to the evolution in the Region, the way of intending “us” has changed and become larger.
Of course, it is up to us and to leaders in the Region to interpret the concept of “us” as a way to bring about a common future.
A great Bosnian writer who has died this year, Predrag Matvejevic, has made very interesting reflections on the meaning of belonging and on the belonging of all of us to the common heritage of the Mediterranean and continental Europe.
Most of all, Matvejevic has taught us that identity should be both questioned and interpreted, used but not misused, to build and not to divide.
It is also in the service of this higher, common identity that so many Italians, working for international organizations, NGOs, the military, but also journalists, artists, poets and performers, have chosen to come and work here. Some of them, in the darkest moments, have also lost their lives.
It is this commitment to build and share that has brought here today Maestro Michelangelo Pistoletto, who has realized his “Third Paradise” in Sarajevo with the help of 400 students from around the country. It is a symbol that connects the earth to the infinite and redraws the future. Grazie Maestro, for this gift that you have given to Bosnia-Herzegovina!
Let’s look together towards the future then, without waiting for the future to decided for us, but working so that the future can bring us the fruits of what we sow today: Italy and the Italian people, the peoples of Europe are with you!