Kyiv can count on Rome to support its freedom. That’s what Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said in the Ukrainian capital, where he went alongside his counterparts from other European Union member States. He stressed that the Italian government is “strongly committed” to Ukraine’s reconstruction and eventual accession to the European Union.
- “Together with the other EU Foreign Ministers, we will follow up on the commitments made in defence of Ukraine,” he had posted earlier on X. “We are here to strengthen Ukraine and international law; there can be no peace without justice,” he added upon his arrival.
Eight weapons package incoming. While meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, FM Tajani announced that Italy is working on another military aid package and gearing up to provide infrastructure protection during the coming winter. This will be the continuation of Rome’s stream of material support, which has so far entailed both weapons (especially advanced anti-air systems) and civilian material (including generator sets, tents and clothing).
- As is customary, the aid package’s contents will remain shrouded in secrecy for added security.
- On the occasion, President Zelensky awarded FM Tajani with the title of Knight of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise – “a great honour for me and the government [confirming] the strong friendship between our countries,” posted the Italian officer.
Rebuilding Ukraine… The country’s reconstruction has been a priority for Italy – which held a Reconstruction Conference earlier this year – and will remain so during Italy’s upcoming G-7 presidency in 2024, promised FM Tajani. He added that Rome had signed an agreement with Kyiv to restore Odesa’s Transfiguration Cathedral, describing it as “a political and cultural message for Ukraine.”
- Italy recently opened its first Honorary Consulate in Odesa (with jurisdiction over the regions of Odesa, Kherson, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) as a way to bolster its consular network in view of facilitating reconstruction efforts.
… and imagining its European future. The upcoming informal European Council summit in Granada, Spain, will be centred on expanding the European Union to include the likes of Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkan States – a concept that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni strongly believes in. As for Kyiv, said FM Tajani, “the prospect of EU membership remains central”.
- Expressing Italy’s support for the process, he promised the support of several Italian institutions – including the Guardia di Finanza financial police corps.
- He also called on Ukraine to “do its part with internal reforms” in the fields of rule of law, judiciary, anti-corruption and transparency “so that [accession] negotiations can begin next year.”