The appeal from the youngsters in the room is clear. It is directed at Vice President of the Council of Ministers, Antonio Tajani, and aimed at the political sphere: “Pay more attention to human rights because any one of us could have been Giulio Regeni or Mario Paciolla”. These words ignited the Sala Blu – Impatto Giovani.
The response was equally clear and unambiguous: “Every human being has the right to be free. I don’t care about labels; each person is a human being and should be free as such. This means putting people at the centre, and that is our commitment because each one of you is indispensable, irreplaceable, unique”. With these words, Antonio Tajani concluded his meeting with the Impact! youth at #Giffoni53. An intense encounter, touching on highly relevant issues present in today’s political debates.
Claudio Gubitosi, the founder of Giffoni, introduced the Minister of Foreign Affairs with these words: “This is the space where young people encounter all the expressions of our society and try to understand each other. They are the ‘impactors’, to whom we entrust the task of replicating the experience and reliving it in their communities, in their cities, in Italy, and abroad. Giffoni is a global reference point. We started from here and went all over the world. The whole of Europe, and not only that, draws from the Giffoni experience. We are an Italian brand, proudly Southern Italian, but through us, Italy has an international leadership of value”. The first tenant of the Farnesina was welcomed by the prefect of Salerno, Francesco Russo, the Mayor of Giffoni Valle Piana, Antonio Giuliano, the President of the Giffoni Experience Autonomous Body, Pietro Rinaldi, and the General Director of Giffoni, Jacopo Gubitosi.
“I am well aware of your reality – Tajani said – Generoso Andria made me aware of it when we were colleagues at the European Parliament. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports Giffoni through its diplomatic network and the Italian Institutes of culture abroad. It is very positive that young people can come together here, discuss, and feel useful and engaged”. Giffoni serves as an antidote to the spread of addictions, a very concerning phenomenon that affects many youngsters. “If this happens – the Minister continued – it means that young people have lost hope, and the responsibility lies with us, the adults, who fail to understand them. What you do here is a positive response because young people come together, engage, and use their time constructively. It is something commendable and I am delighted that the Ministry supports and sustains you”.
The floor was then open to questions from the young audience. The discussion centred around Italy’s weight in international relations, its regained authority, and its centrality in certain areas, particularly the Balkans and the Mediterranean region.
The problems are many. Concrete and non-ideological solutions are needed, particularly concerning the issue of migration. “The migration issue – Tajani stated – must be addressed at its roots and not solely as a public order problem. The causes are poverty, climate change, civil wars, terrorism. All of this compels people to flee and criminal networks to exploit their desperation. To solve the problem, cohesion is needed. Italy alone cannot handle it”.
These are the guiding stars of Italian foreign policy, and Tajani explicitly refers to them: “The European Union and transatlantic relations are our priorities but, in general, we focus on the extended Mediterranean region, including North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. Zaki’s release was not a trade-off but the result of effective diplomatic action. It was not easy, for example, to liberate Alessia Piperno. We demonstrated authority and credibility and these are the results”.
The discussion also touched on the issue of the minimum wage. An issue which is currently animating the political debate and has put Tajani at the centre of heated controversies. “The challenge – he explained to the Giffoni youth – is not to lose our young people, who risk leaving Italy because of low wages. I am not in favour of a minimum wage, but I am in favour of a rich wage, that allows people to make ends meet, not to have to get married at 40 out of necessity, and to be able to support a child. This is possible if we reduce the tax burden, as the government has already done, if we exempt all forms of taxation on the thirteenth salary, holiday work, overtime and production bonuses. I call it a ‘rich wage’ because I am not satisfied with a minimum wage. I was surprised by the controversy because I am in favour of raising wages, whereas a legally mandated minimum wage, automatically lowers it. And it is not true that Europe obliges us to define a minimum wage by law. We need to free up more resources and to achieve that in the medium term, judicial, fiscal and bureaucratic reforms are needed. On this matter, we must be more ambitious and try to do more”.