He condemns Russia for the latest thrust on the ‘farce’ referendum in Ukraine, he blocks the future of Italy, the EU “protagonist” and alongside NATO. It urges the world to move forward in the name of multilateralism, but it also asks Europe to do more, starting with the price cap. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, in the striking New York Glass Building, Mario Draghi defends the choices made so far in defense of Kiev – starting with the sanctions – for a war that sees “only one responsible”: “Helping Ukraine to protect itself – he claims – was not only the correct choice to make. It was the only choice consistent with the ideals of justice and brotherhood that underlie of the Charter of the United Nations and of the resolutions that this Assembly has adopted since the beginning of the conflict “.
A few days after the vote for the policies, the former ECB number one seems to want to reassure his allies but also to send a message to Rome, remembering which side to be on. Or better to stay: “theItaly will continue to be the protagonist of European life, close to NATO allies – in fact she closes her long speech – open to listening and dialogue, determined to contribute to international peace and security. These are the same principles and objectives that inspire the United Nations, which it is necessary and urgent to defend today “.
The heart of her speech, which arrives when it is late at night in Italy, is on the conflict in Ukraine, which has plunged Europe into a past that it thought no longer belonged to, dotted with “bombings of theaters, schools, hospitals, violence and abuse. against civilians and children “. The condemnation of Moscow’s latest provocation arrives on time: the announcement of the referendum for the annexation of the occupied territories. “So far – the premier’s words – Russia has not shown its willingness to end the conflict: the referendums for independence in Donbass are a further violation of international law which we strongly condemn“. Draghi cites Michail Gorbachev and his words on cooperation pronounced at the Unga in 1988, hoping” there may be a future in which Russia returns to respect the principles it chose to subscribe in 1945. A world divided into blocks, crossed by rigid ideological demarcations and military contrasts do not generate development, they do not solve problems “.
“The aggression of Ukraine by Russia and the crises that derive from it, food, energy, economic – begins Draghi in the General Assembly Hall – put our collective ideals at risk as has rarely happened since the end of the Cold War”. There is no doubt, for the Italian premier, that the responsibilities of the conflict are “clear and of one party only. But it is our collective responsibility – he urges – to find answers to these problems with urgency, determination, effectiveness. We cannot divide ourselves between the North. and the South of the world. We must act together and rediscover the value of multilateralism that is celebrated in this chamber “.
Draghi recalls that, when the time came to take sides, “Italy acted without delay”, together with all the partners “who, like us, believe in an international system based on rules and multilateralism. Together, we responded to the demands of the President Zelensky, why – he remarks raising his voice – a military invasion planned for months and on several fronts does not stop with words alone“And if today the outcome of a conflict that Moscow believed to close in a couple of weeks, with a blitzkrieg,” remains unpredictable “it is” also thanks to our military assistance “, he claims.
But one of the key points of his speech is the passage in which Draghi defends the result obtained with the sanctions with the sword, in spite of those who, in Italy, cast shadows on their effectiveness. “They have had a disruptive effect on the Russian war machine, on its economy. Russia is struggling to manufacture the armaments it needs by itself, as it finds it difficult to acquire the material needed to produce them.” And as an economist he is, as proof of his words, he quotes the numbers of the International Monetary Fund, which “expects the Russian economy to contract this year and next by about 10% in total, against a growth of around 5% assumed before the war. With a weaker economy, it will be more difficult for Russia to react to the losses that accumulate on the battlefield. “
“The unity of the European Union and its allies – underlines Draghi – was decisive in offering Ukraine the support it needed, to impose very hard costs on Russia. Moscow immediately tried to divide our countries,” to use gas as a weapon of blackmail“. Italy, claims the premier, has done everything possible to cut the cord that kept it tied:” it reacted in a timely manner to diversify the sources of gas supply, to accelerate the development of renewable energy “. But to maintain a “united, resolute position, consistent with our values, it is essential to preserve social cohesion.” Which, for Draghi, translates into more Europe.
“We must do more – he urges – especially at the European level. As Italy has been arguing for some time, l‘European Union must impose a ceiling on the price of gas imports, also to further reduce the funding we send to Russia. Europe must support the member states while they support Kiev. The European Union must also use the strength of its institutions to protect its neighbors from Russian claims. ”
Meanwhile, Rome remains at the side of Kiev but also “in the front line to try to reach an agreement, when it is possible”. Draghi trusts in other “moments of cooperation”, such as the export of Ukrainian wheat, and looks to the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia: “the access of a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency represents a step forward. Now it is essential to arrive at some form of demilitarization of the area. We cannot risk nuclear catastrophe“, he warns.
In his long speech, Draghi also goes back to underlining “the need for reform the United Nations Security Council, to make it more representative, efficient, transparent “. He focuses on the migrant emergency, a “global phenomenon”, which requires “a responsible, human, shared approach”, and also offers an assist in Rome, recalling the availability of Caput mundi to host Expo 2030.
Naturally, he does not forget to dwell on the climate, a theme that is particularly close to his heart, with an eye to the most vulnerable. “We must continue to support the most vulnerable countries to defend themselves from the impacts of climate change and to pursue their transition paths – he says -. I am thinking for example of the tragedy of the floods in Pakistan, where a very large part of the country is submerged by water. and millions of people are forced to leave their homes. The environmental crisis affects us all, and we must all get out of it together “.
Always with an eye on the environment, in the morning the premier left the UN headquarters to join the young people who arrived in New York for the ‘Youth4Climate’: “I am fully aware of your expectations and your great hunger for change – he told them -. Both are extremely welcome: we must do better, faster. ” Then he paused with a young school group from Treviso, and in front of an invitation from a teacher to visit their high school, he replied with a smile and a joke: “gladly, now I will have more free time …“.