INTERVIEW — AMBASSADOR ARMANDO VARRICCHIO, ITALY
by Ryan Heath, Politico
I spoke to Ambassador Varricchio, Italy’s representative in Washington, on Thursday afternoon, just after Antony Blinken finished a call with Italy’s 34-year-old foreign minister Luigi Di Maio. Varricchio wants you to see America and the transatlantic relationship from space: specifically, NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter, which was powered with Italian technology, and from where America’s internal differences and transatlantic disputes look tiny.
Back on earth, Italy’s is cheering on Dr. Jill (Giacoppa) Biden, Gina Raimondo and Nancy Pelosi: If you think anyone in the Italian government has forgotten this power trio’s Italian roots, or that Joe Biden descends from equally Catholic Ireland, you’re mistaken. They’re sure to feature as Italy celebrates 160 years of diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 2021. Jill Biden’s grandfather was born in Sicily.
When will Italy’s 67th post-war government happen? Varricchio said Italian President Sergio Mattarella is insisting “a very tight schedule” for forming a new Italian government. We should expect to see it in place next week, with “a strong political mandate.”
G-20 presidency priorities: “Covid is top of the agenda, because our priorities are: people, planet, prosperity. We want to stress the importance of working together.”
Climate coordination: “The U.K. chairs the G-7, we chair the G-20 and together we host the COP26 climate conference. It’s working: we are very pleased John Kerry gave his first global address to the B-20 business forum of the G-20, the very first day in office.”
Balancing transatlantic alliance with European independence: “We’re not dependent, we’re partners. There’s never been in history, such a strong alliance. We have commerce, we have values, we have people-to-people connections, and 12,000 (American) men and women in uniform based in Italy. We are fully aware that working together, we are stronger, we are wealthier (but) we also respond to specific demands of our own citizens.”