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Sandro Gozi - Italy, the EU and the US: A Conversation on Transatlantic Challenges

| Dec. 21, 2016

Sandri Gozi, Italian Undersecretary of State for European Affairs, joined the Future of Diplomacy Project on November 1 for a discussion titled “Italy, the EU and the US: A Conversation on Transatlantic Challenges.” Gozi offered his reflections on the state of the constitutional referendum campaign in Italy, a vote scheduled for December 4, 2016. In announcing the referendum, designed to empower the Italian first chamber and change the composition of the country’s Senate, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had offered his resignation, should the vote fail. The constitutional reforms, which aim to increase the efficiency of the legislative process and streamline the implementation of European and national-level policies -  among other improvements - will create a more responsive political environment in Italy, Gozi said.

Gozi, who has previously served as a member of the European Parliament, said that the reforms also sought to address parts of the jurisdictional incompatibilities that have threatened the sustainability and credibility of the European Union, especially over the last decade. Due to the decentralized nature of the current Italian system, Gozi said, “an entire trans-European highway project could be halted by the complaints of a single farm in Tuscany, ” a dynamic that he said has contributed to perceptions of the EU as slow-moving and ineffective.  The transfer of certain regional powers to national institutions under the revised constitution, he argued, would allow for coordinated action at the European, Italian, and regional levels, allowing such projects to be realized in a timely manner.

The discussion, moderated by Future of Diplomacy Project Executive Director Cathryn Cluver, also touched upon Italy’s response to the migrant crisis. Gozi said that the federal government had a moral obligation to help the thousands of refugees that reach Italian shores, but was simply overwhelmed by the numbers. Other EU countries had to help share the financial, administrative and logistical burdens of accommodating the hundreds of thousands of migrants that have arrived in the country in recent years, he said.

Mr. Gozi also commented on the country’s favorable relations with the United States, which have been strengthened by close ties between the Renzi government and the Obama administration, and were recently reaffirmed  by the President Obama’s decision to welcome Prime Minister Renzi to the White House for his final state dinner. However, the partnership extended deeper than the personal relationship between the two heads of state, said Gozi, because it was based on shared values.  For this reason, he said, the close cooperation between the U.S. and Italy  was likely to continue even after Obama’s term came to an end.

For more information on this publication: Please contact Future of Diplomacy Project
For Academic Citation: Liliana Harrington. “Sandro Gozi - Italy, the EU and the US: A Conversation on Transatlantic Challenges.” News, , December 21, 2016.