Quirinal Palace 16/12/2021

Address of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, for the Traditional Exchange of New Year Greetings with the Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Most Excellent Dean,

Mister Minister,

Madam and Mister Ambassadors,

I would like to thank the Most Excellent Dean for his comments and the greatly appreciated greetings he has extended to Italy and to me personally, on behalf of the Diplomatic Corps.

I am very pleased to welcome you once again to the Quirinal Palace to exchange greetings for the new year. Today’s gathering is also an opportunity for me to bid you all farewell.

I would like to express to you all and to the citizens of the countries you represent my warmest wishes for the coming holidays.

During the current year that is drawing to a close, the pandemic has continued to impact us all indiscriminately on every continent, showing us once again how our responses to current challenges transcend national borders.

Our fate, the fate of our planet and all humankind are inextricably tied to each other.

The heavy burden of suffering caused by the pandemic for millions of our fellow citizens is a painful reminder that international cooperation and solidarity are not just possible options but decisive requirements.

We can only be saved if we act together.

This last point has been reiterated many times during our meetings, long before the pandemic struck.

The current situation proves that, in all domains of international relations, exclusively national approaches have no hope of succeeding.

We are painfully facing a common danger to humankind that has caused widespread grief and plunged our economies and societies in a crisis situation worldwide.

Our efforts have been increasingly effective also thanks to the work of the international scientific community and their open and integrated collaboration across borders, exchanging knowledge, experiences and breakthroughs.

This pandemic raises fears that more might come, and it is essential that our continuing international scientific collaboration is compounded by mutual openness to collaboration by States in the international community. In all domains.

What more convincing reminder do we need beyond the grave common dangers we are facing to push us in this direction?

We must realize that a global reflection on the role currently played by multilateralism and its related institutions needs to be revived, and on possible reforms to increase its effectiveness.

For the Italian Republic, our founding fathers pointed to multilateralism as the road to follow.

An international system that rejects violence to settle disputes and ensures peace, freedom and respects of human rights through the certainty of law is the only one that can adequately reflect the ambitions of all peoples on earth.

For this reason, and despite the many problems that have undermined cooperation at global level, the promotion of multilateralism centered on the United Nations remains a priority for Italy.

We hope that the United Nations will become an increasingly efficient, transparent, representative and responsible organization.

For this reason, made strong by our reliance on the values of democracy, freedom and the dignity of every human being, we remain committed to a constructive exchange with global players so that together we can find a response to the most pressing needs of the international community.

A response to reduce inequalities and improve the mechanisms of global governance that the United Nations itself is trying to define, as demonstrated by the "New Global Deal" promoted by Secretary General Guterres.

In fact, without an interconnected multilateralism, that is sensitive to the needs of developing countries and all social actors, we will not succeed in peacefully resolving crises. Our efforts to effectively protect human rights and create much-needed development opportunities at all latitudes are also bound to fail and we will not succeed in bequeathing an inhabitable planet to future generations.

The shared - and peaceful - management of global public goods, which belong to all humanity, will not be guaranteed.

According to United Nations Agencies, the current crises determined an increase in migration last year which involved more than 280 million people, and more than 82 million refugees.

It is clear that we cannot close our eyes and ignore what is happening beyond our borders. We must find the courage to meet these challenges, and together develop solutions that are consistent with the commitments we have freely undertaken at international level.


Most Excellent Dean, Distinguished Authorities, Madam and Mister Ambassadors,

health is a precious asset whose value can immediately be perceived by all inhabitants of our planet, and is the terrain on which we can begin our journey towards productive and fair multilateralism.

Glaring differences in the global distribution of vaccines, in the availability of treatment and beds, and even reliable data have highlighted the gaps of the current health governance system. It is therefore necessary to strengthen global health infrastructures, as we stated in the Rome Declaration, adopted last May at the end of the Global Health Summit.

In this regard, I would like to recall Italy’s support for a solidarity-based and cooperative approach in the fight against Covid-19, and the European Union's renewed commitment to vaccinate 70% of the world's population by 2022 within the Covax initiative.

We must work hard to fulfill the commitments made at the G20 summit-which Italy had the honor of presiding over-and strongly support efforts to increase vaccination rates, particularly on the African continent.

Another area that requires common and concerted responses, resulting from open and constructive multilateral efforts, is climate change. The future of humankind depends on this, and on the related challenges of energy and technological transition, as well as food security and protection of biodiversity.

In 2015, the year I took office, the Paris Agreement was negotiated by more than 190 countries.

I remember that prior to COP21, the most pessimistic scenarios envisaged a possible increase in global temperature of up to 6°C, with catastrophic consequences.

The agreement reached at the recent Glasgow Conference gives us hope that we will be able to limit the rise in global temperature to no more than 2°C or, with additional efforts, to 1.5°C.

Keeping this scenario credible is vitally important.

Behind small changes lie real implications and consequences for everyone, particularly for the most vulnerable.

There is still a long way to go, but we have taken important steps. We have done so through dialogue and multilateral diplomacy, as well as through an increasingly broad scientific outreach that informs public opinion and encourages participation. Everybody’s participation is essential if we want to reach our goals, starting with younger generations that have breathed new life into climate change debates.

The challenge of protecting Earth's health concerns us all, individually and directly.

Climate change must be addressed with fair and sustainable environmental policies.

Necessary energy transition processes can truly accelerate stronger international technological cooperation that takes into account the interests of all and leaves no one behind.

Required investments may seem substantial but the "return" in terms of public health, employment, quality of life and environmental protection is - and will be - certainly greater.

Reaching the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 is a mission that requires determination and consistency.

It requires targeted actions in the short term, significant changes in individual behavior in the medium term and extensive structural changes in the long term. However, this will also bring great opportunities in terms of inclusive and sustainable growth as well as social and intergenerational equity.

We have been able to make good progress on environmental protection, but our common efforts have not taken shape yet when it comes to the governance of the digital transition.

New technological tools, from the pervasiveness of social media to the future of quantum computing, and the crucial area of artificial intelligence, are covertly influencing and modifying our lives and behaviors every day.

Individual states and international bodies are struggling to grasp and regulate such momentous situations, to bring them in line with the objectives of common good that are peculiar to each community.

A regulatory gap has opened up that the international community must fill as soon as possible in the name of citizens' right to knowledge and transparency.

Rules cannot be dictated by technology: it is imperative to develop applications in which the centrality of human beings is clear, with their inalienable rights and fundamental protections.

Algorithms cannot decide how we are exposed to information, or influence our preferences and guide our choices.

Technology is a formidable tool available to humankind. We cannot let the opposite happen.

Also, I have noted with pleasure that in the last seven years the presence of women has increased, even within your ranks.

This is an extremely important and positive development. I am deeply convinced that the contribution of women in our societies is precious and that it is in everyone's interest that it be enhanced further.

The world needs the active participation and contribution of all.

And here I am also thinking of younger generations.


Most Excellent Dean, Distinguished Authorities, Madam and Mister Ambassadors,

I would like to dedicate my final remarks to the European Union: the essential framework of Italy's international action and the prospect of prosperity we wish to build for our Continent.

During 2021 the Union has been able to play a decisive role in coordinating and strengthening our common response to the pandemic and its dire economic and social consequences.

The Next Generation EU program - a tangible and authentic proof of solidarity among Member States - has also been a catalyst for further continental integration to make a qualitative leap forward.

In major international scenarios, the voice of Europe - with its vocation for peace, stability and testimony of freedom - is essential. Thanks to Next Generation EU, the Union will be able to achieve greater strategic autonomy in the defence sector. This greater autonomy will be consistent with and complementary to the Atlantic Alliance, which will ultimately be strengthened.

The Union will thus be able to play a stronger positive role at international level, starting from its neighborhood - from the Mediterranean to its Eastern borders - effectively testifying to the strength of its values, based on undeniable respect for the dignity of all individuals and peoples, under all conditions.

On the world stage, Europe will be able to express its opinions to a greater extent than what its individual members have been able to do so far.

Multilateralism is embedded in the EU’s DNA and its most effective contribution will be a truly positive and decisive factor.


Most Excellent Dean, Distinguished Authorities, Madam and Mister Ambassadors,

my wish is that in 2022 our peoples will be able to treasure the lessons we have learned in these two years for a better future.

The Italian Republic is grateful to you for the friendship and cooperation that the countries you represent give to us.

In this spirit I would like to renew to you all my best wishes for the coming Christmas and New Year