Fourteen European heads of state, including Federal President Alexander van der Bellen, discussed the future of the European Union on Wednesday at a meeting of the so-called “Ariolos Group” in Rome. Italian President Sergio Mattarella received 13 non-executive presidents at his official residence in Rome. In his speech at the end of the sixteenth meeting of the Areolos Group, van der Bellen stressed that Europe must “be more self-confident and show more courage”.
Europe is an international model of success committed to multilateralism. It is through pluralism that one can promote dialogue, understand the position of the interlocutor and find compromises, van der Bellen said in his statement in the courtyard of the Quirinale.
“Over the course of this year, we have taken important steps forward together. The crises have taught us that our sovereignty is inextricably linked with the defense and development of the Union’s shared sovereignty,” said host Mattarella. He also spoke about the European Union’s “Next Generation” reconstruction programme. This is a far-reaching program in the direction of “green and digital transformation”. Mattarella stressed the need for Europe to complete the economic, monetary and financial union. On defense policy, Mattarella said it was time for the EU to “completely complement” NATO.
In addition to Van der Bellen, representatives from Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland traveled to attend the meeting in Rome. The two working sessions dealt with the themes of “The Importance of the European Union’s Strategic Autonomy” and “The Contribution of the European Union to Multilateralism after the Pandemic”.
The meetings of the Arraiolos group, named after the place where they first met in Portugal, have been held every year since 2003 (except in 2010 and 2020). In the context of EU enlargement, the number of participating non-executive heads of state, who perform representative tasks in their countries in particular, has increased significantly. Next year the Arraiolos groups will meet in Malta.
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