The Forum “Verso Sud”, promoted by Minister Carfagna, took place in Sorrento

14 May 2022

The two-day forum in Sorrento was attended by President Mattarella, Prime Minister Draghi, as well as ministers and keynote speakers from all over the enlarged Mediterranean area.

"There is a Southern Italy that is too often unseen. This Southern Italy is not asking for privileges but rights, not subsidies but opportunities. This Southern Italy is tired of being treated as the burden of the Italian Republic, because it has the skills, the resources and the energy to grow as much as – and even more than – the rest of the Country. Thanks to the Government's action, our Southern Italy can finally take a step forward. I have called for a big meeting in Sorrento to present this Southern Italy to investors, businesses, and countries on the other side of the Mediterranean, and to tell them about the huge opportunities that will open up in Southern Italy over the next five years.”

The words conveyed by Minister Mara Carfagna summarise the key topics of the two-day event titled “Verso Sud – Looking Southward: European Strategy for a new geopolitical, economic, and socio-cultural season in the Mediterranean”, an international forum  held on 13-14 May in Sorrento (Villa Zagara). The first part of the Forum was attended by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who conveyed his speech (Watch President Draghi’s speech).

“Their presence at the opening of the Forum, along with nine ministers within the several panels, confirms that today – perhaps for the first time – Italian institutions are treating Southern Italy not as a burden for the Country but as a solution for the Country's problems and, consequently, are supporting, planning, and financing the construction of a Southern Italy where living, working, doing business, and investing is finally easier. A Southern Italy that is aware of the opportunities, also in an international perspective, linked to its geographical centrality in the framework of new energy routes, trade and strategic Italian and European relations.”

>> Watch Minister Mara Carfagna’s speech

After the greetings by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, Prime Minister Mario Draghi delivered his address. Numerous international guests were present as keynote speakers, including: Dubravka Šuica (Vice-President and European Commissioner for Demography and Democracy), Sheika Hissah Saad Al Sabah (Princess of Kuwait and President of the Council of Arab Businesswomen), Mohamed Arkab (Algerian Minister of Energy), Mustafa Sanalla (President of the Libyan National Oil Corporation), Kyriakos Pierrakakis (Greek Minister of Digital Governance), António Costa Silva (Portuguese Minister of Economy and the Sea), Toufik Hakkar (Chairman and CEO of Algerian Sonatrach), and Marouane El Abassi (Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia).

The Forum was organised by the Minister for Southern Italy and Territorial Cohesion in cooperation with The European House – Ambrosetti, whose MD, Valerio De Molli, presented a White Paper (Read the synthesis) on the relaunch of Southern Italy in the European and Mediterranean context, focussing on eight areas:

  • The central role of the sea economy for competitiveness, attractiveness and growth of Southern Italy and the Mediterranean;
  • The new energy corridors and the green transition challenge as cornerstones of tomorrow’s Mediterranean;
  • Infrastructural investments and the new assessment model to deploy their positive effects;
  • Tourism development for the benefit of territories, for a more attractive Southern Italy in the Mediterranean;
  • Production specialisations in the new global value chains;
  • Southern Italy as a centre of expertise for universities in the Mediterranean area;
  • Communication on Southern Italy’s new vision and role;
  • The necessary governance to put the new vision into practice and maximise its benefits.

Significant contributions to the White Paper's contents were provided by the Scientific Committee composed of Patrizia Lombardi (Deputy-Rector of Turin Polytechnic and President of the Network of Universities for Sustainable Development), Stefano Manservisi (Sciences Po), and Maarten Lulof van Aalderen (De Telegraaf correspondent in Italy, and former President of the Foreign Press Association).

>> The video of the opening speeches at the Forum – In the presence of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, keynote speakers included the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Minister Mara Carfagna, and EU Commission Vice-President Dubravka Šuica.

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