The Strong Bond of friendship between Wales and Italy will survive Brexit

By WCIA Volunteer Morgane Dirion

Highlighting the “long friendship” and “strong bond” between Wales and Italy, Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones introduced Raffaele Trombetta, Italian ambassador to the UK. the event, on 11th February 2019 at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, was hosted by the Wales Governance Centre, Cardiff University.

Initially, addressing Brexit and Italy, Trombetta said “it is time and it is important that people know more” about Italy, such as the thousands of innovative start-ups flourishing there or its competitive machinery industry.

After explaining what a “significant contribution to Welsh life” the Italian community had brought, he moved to the main point of his speech. He explained that the negotiation phase of Brexit, so far, had had no effect on the bilateral trade between the two countries. He said it was important to respect the decision made in June 2016 but that, however, he was and would always be a “committed member” of a united Europe and that anything that potentially has a negative effect on trade would be of concern. He clearly said that the worst scenario we could be faced with today was a no-deal Brexit.

Trombetta also answered dozens of questions from his audience – a mix of concerned UK and Italian citizens and Politics students. Questions included: his perception of Wales; the meaning of a no-deal Brexit for Italy; concerns about dual citizenship or the benefits of the European Union for disadvantaged people.

He made sure to emphasize once again the importance of Italian projects in Wales and the need to find new ways to keep building the relationship between the two countries.
Trombetta said that he wished there was no talk about a post-Brexit Europe but as it was something that, in today’s political climate, cannot be avoided, he stressed the importance of the Union as an architect of peace. The next European elections will be decisive, he admitted. These elections will not be some kind of test of national governments but a true chance to focus on the structure of Europe, to allow a constructive debate about the very nature of the Union and to try to take a position on deeper integration or a looser union.