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Draghi, Marshall Plan for Ukraine. Italy ready to do its part

Awarded at the Atlantic Council. Standing ovation for Zelenskyy’s message

Draghi Marshall Plan for Ukraine Italy ready to do its part

A “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine.

At the end of the two days in the United States, Mario Draghi chooses the stage of the Atlantic Council, which gives him the prize for “leadership”, to launch the proposal for a plan for the reconstruction of the territories still today the scene “of the Russian invasion of ‘Ukraine”.

We must do “everything for peace” the premier reiterates from the stage of the Anthem Theater in Washington, ensuring that Italy is ready to do its part. After Draghi, Jamala, the Ukrainian singer who won the Eurovision song festival in 2016, takes the stage. Standing ovation from the audience – a thousand people from the elite of the US capital – for Ukraine and its president. The Ukrainians, Zelenskyy said in a video message, “are the best defenders”. And they also have the US at their side, assures the speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, because “the struggle for freedom in Ukraine is a struggle for freedom in the world”. Draghi receives the award from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who calls him a “talented economist and tireless public servant” and points out that the US is “lucky” to have the man of “whatever it takes” as a partner. The war, observes the premier in his speech – after greetings and even a few selfies with the Italian community in Washington – has brought the two sides of the Atlantic closer and “isolated Russia”. The aftermath of these geopolitical upheavals will last “a long time”. For this, we need to equip ourselves and in the meantime continue to “support the courage of the Ukrainians, who are fighting for the freedom and security of all of us”. We also need to start thinking about reconstruction, an issue also addressed in the bilateral meeting at the White House with Joe Biden, because “the destruction of its cities, its industrial plants, its fields will require enormous financial support”. A ”

It is time to put everyone around a table, including Russia and the United States, with Ukraine as the “protagonist”. To build a “sustainable” solution and not a peace “imposed” by others, which would turn into a “disaster”, because no one would respect it. Mario Draghi is about to close his first mission to Washington as prime minister and illustrates his recipe for trying to bring the parties closer and get to the end of the “butchery” and “massacres” that Italian and European citizens, as he said to Joe Biden, now forcefully invoke. The war has changed, we are seeing that Russia “is not Goliath, it is not invincible”, observes Draghi. The response received from Vladimir Putin in the last phone call, “the time is not ripe”, is no longer valid today, because it was the attitude of those who thought they “had an advantage” which they then lacked on the pitch. That is why every effort must now be made to “bring the parties to the table”. For the first time, the White House also speaks of peace, in the synthesis of the conversation between the two in the Oval office. There are no “conflicts” between the two sides of the Atlantic, assures the premier at a press conference at the embassy before going to Capitol Hill for a meeting with the leadership of Congress and with the speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. But the “vision” of the Old Continent is “changing” and “preventive reflection” is needed. There is no question of “tones”, the meeting did not serve to “judge each other” but to understand ”

The prime minister does not explicitly say that direct contact between Biden and Putin is needed – which could also lead to a shift in the direction of de-escalation – but merely emphasizes that “contacts must be restarted, intensified at all levels”. In short, it is time to “look to the future”. And also to the post-war “reconstruction” on which Europe must act “collectively”, on this as on the other challenges imposed by the war, because no country has sufficient resources. Italy, he assures us, “will play her part but with all the others”. Europe should also seek a common answer on energy, but the “opinions are not unanimous”. On the gas front, Draghi collects Biden’s support for the price cap idea, struggling to make its way to Brussels. But the European countries, the premier insists, have power over the market and it is time to “exercise it”, while on oil, a matter dear to the American ally, the idea is to “create a cartel of buyers or persuade, perhaps the preferable way, OPEC to increase production “. The objective of both continents remains to curb the price rush to counter the social impact of the conflict. Despite the “great uncertainty”, however, Draghi does not currently see any signs of “recession” this year. But attention remains high, also because the energy crisis shows no sign of closing and could worsen if Russian gas supplies were to stop, hence Italy is trying to make itself independent as soon as possible. In the meantime, payments will continue (a new deadline is expected around the middle of the month) because “there is no official declaration that payments in rubles violate the sanctions, so it is a gray area”, says the premier, recalling that “Germany’s largest importer has already paid in rubles and most gas importers have already opened accounts in rubles. ”

“It is an honor to receive the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi as the first speaker of the Italian-American chamber”: said the speaker of the Chamber Nancy Pelosi, welcoming the head of the Italian government to Capitol Hill. “Thanks to Italy for the hospitality it gives to the American troops but also for being a partner of peace”, she added. “It is a great honor to be in the center of democracy and on a great day for relations between Italy and the US, our close relations have strengthened with the war in Ukraine,” said Draghi. “For me, being here means that a piece of the EU is here, I am happy to be here not only as an Italian but also as a European,” she added.

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Written by Rachita Salian

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