Italy takes on EU presidency with a pledge to be closer to citizens and to foster economic growth

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Paris, July 2014 – Following the European parliamentary elections of May 2014 and in view of the renewal of the European Commission at the end of the year, the Trio (Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg) that takes the presidency of the European Council for the next 18 months pledged to give priority to bringing European institutions closer to citizens. Since July 1st, each of the three countries will take the presidency for a period of six months.

Italy is the first country of the Trio to take the EU presidency, since July 1st. It will focus on the following priorities: growth and employment, enhancement of freedoms and security for full enjoyment of citizenship rights, and increased weight of the EU in the global arena. Faced with political, economic and social challenges, the European Union must be more united, dynamic and efficient in order to be able to take swift and targeted decisions.

The Italian presidency aims to bring Europe closer to citizens by eliminating hurdles and procedures and by making European institutions more accountable and transparent. Regarding the need to bring Europe and citizens closer within a space of democracy, rights and freedoms, the Italian presidency wants to promote a more active role for the EU in areas where it creates added value, such as the protection of fundamental rights in policies regarding asylum and migration.

The Italian presidency will strive to strengthen European solidarity and to promote an integrated European policy on immigration. Also, the activities of the European agency for security and external borders, Frontex, will be strengthened. New cooperation agreements with third countries will be signed and implemented in the areas of border control, the fight against illegal immigration and support to legal immigration, which brings economic and social benefits to both countries of origin and destination. Italy will strengthen EU’s foreign policy initiatives. Indeed, the increasing influx of migrants in Europe makes it necessary to adopt common policies and actions.

Enlargement is another strategic priority of the Italian presidency, who will continue negotiations with Western Balkans countries and Turkey. The EU’s Neighbourhood Policy is a fundamental part of its foreign policy, and it must be implemented according to a global, coherent and coordinated approach taking into account all EU policies related to its relations with southern and eastern countries.

In addition, the Italian presidency will also focus on sustainable development, in particular in light of the universal exhibition of Milan, Expo Milano 2015, the theme of which is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. This is in line with the need to relaunch the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and to increase the competitiveness of the EU.

More information on the website of the Italian presidency at: http://italia2014.eu/it

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