Italians Perceive Slovakia as a Country that Helps

Italians Perceive Slovakia as a Country that Helps

On Wednesday 20 April 2022, President Čaputová met President Sergio Mattarelo during the first day of her official visit to Italy. 

The presidents discussed mutual relations, current developments in Ukraine, the impacts of the war on both countries and the need to continue to defend the values of democracy and the rule of law within the European Union. President Čaputová believes that Italy is becoming a more important European Union and NATO partner. “Today Italians perceive Slovakia as a country that helps. As a country that has had to deal with refugees for a long time, they appreciate the solidarity that our society and civil sector have shown toward those fleeing the war in Ukraine. We agree with President Mattarello on the need to provide humanitarian, economic and military assistance to Ukraine and on the fact that Ukraine could soon acquire EU candidate state status.”

During their negotiations, the heads of states also discussed issues related to the rule of law and exchanged their experience with fighting corruption. “Our countries can serve as an inspiration to each other in this respect – Italy has mastered the use of EU funds, and our registers of final beneficiaries and public sector partners, which have helped to eliminate space for money laundering, is interesting for them. Today it can help to effectively enforce the sanctions which we have imposed on Russia and its oligarchs.”  

The president emphasized that both countries are facing another challenge: the diversification of gas and energy supplies. She feels that this is an opportunity to reduce our overall dependency on fossil fuels and switch to low-emission energy resources. “Italy, the seventh most important export market for Slovakia and the sixth largest importer, is a strong partner and friend of Slovakia. But it is essential that we find significant agreement even regarding our views on European policies and European security. My negotiations with President Mattarello confirmed the closeness of our countries and provided an impulse to new cooperation.”

The president later met in Rome with Maria Casellati, President of the Italian Senate. “We agreed that in the situation Europe has found itself after the Russian aggression against Ukraine, we need to achieve agreement and unity within the EU. All of my meetings with the representatives of Italy during my official visit only confirmed this opinion and value agreement.” The president also attended the premiere of Tosca at the San Carlo Theatre in Naples, which was conducted by world famous Slovak conductor Juraj Valčuha, the music director of the Naples opera and the soon-to-be music director of the Houston Philharmonic. 

“I am always pleased when I meet successful Slovaks abroad. One of them is conductor Juraj Valčuha. Many operas have been performed around the world under his guidance. He has conducted La Bohème, Carmen, Faust and yesterday the premiere of Puccini’s opera Tosca at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, where he is the musical director. His excellent performance will also enhance the reputation of Slovakia!"