Prime Minister Berlusconi Presents L'Aquila G8 Summit in Naples

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Delegate Commisioner Guido Bertolaso

The Summit in L'Aquila is going to be unique in terms of the number of countries attending.  Taken all together, these countries represent 90% of the world's economy.  Presenting the G8 agenda in the course of a news conference in the company of G8 Commissioner Delegate Giudo Bertolaso on board the Cruise Ship Fantasia, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi highlighted the historic involvement of the emerging countries in the Summit.  The world's leaders will be debating a range of issues, including the international economic crisis and the various regional crises, food safety and security, the struggle against climate changes and the deregulation of world trade.

The "expanded" formats adopted for the Summit in L'Aquila provide for meetings of the G8 member countries on the first day, and for the involvement of the G5 group of countries (Brasil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) plus Egypt (which has received a special invitation from the Italian Presidency) on the second day.  On the same day, the debate will be opened up to include a further three countries (Australia, Indonesia and South Korea) representing the MEF (Major Economies Forum) to discuss the issues of climate changes and of food safety and security.  Finally, a number of other countries, including the African countries and the six most important international organizations, will be brought into the debate on the last day, bringing the grand total to 39 countries all sitting down at the same table at once.

After explaining the gradual expansion of the debate, Prime Minister Berlusconi reviewed the issues on the agenda, starting with the economic crisis and the consequent need to create a code of standards and rules for the world's economy, in which "there are no tax havens or derivatives, but precise rules and methods, and oversight bodies".  Other issues closely linked to the international economic crisis are starvation in the world and food security and safety, to address which -- Berlusconi explained -- US President Barack Obama "has put $4 billion on the plate" and called on other countries to do the same.

Another issue that the G8 Summit will be addressing is world trade in an effort to impart a fresh thrust to deregulation; this, "in order to get to the point where a new Doha Round can be called".  The G8's position will be based on the principle of "people first".  Berlusconi explained that, "the message will be to adopt the social market economy.  For the citizens, on the other hand, it will be this:  you must have confidence".

Turning to the struggle against climate changes, Berlusconi pointed to the need to "start with shared measures that everyone applies", underscoring the pointlessness of adopting restrictive actions on the emissions front unless they are universally complied with.  In that sense, Berlusconi stressed, the G8 Summit in L'Aquila will be a crucial step in the preparatory work paving the way for the UN conference in Copenhagen this December.

As the number of countries attending the working sessions gradually increases, the debate will also address the more critical international situations, including the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the numerous situations in Africa and in Latin America.

In the course of the news conference, the Prime Minister also dwelt on the programme for the first ladies who will be accompanying the world's leaders to L'Aquila.  After visiting the Campidoglio city hall and the Capitoline Museums in Rome, the first ladies will be taken on a tour of L'Aquila's historic city centre, which was so badly damaged in the earthquake, and they will be meeting with the local people.  Finally, to complete their stay, the first ladies will be taking part in a conference at the UN's FAO Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

Winding up the news conference, the Prime Minister illustrated the extensions that have been made to Parchi di Preturo Airport, where the G8 leaders will be landing, and the construction work carried out inside the Guardia di Finanza Inspectors' School in Coppito, where the Summit is to be held.  G8 Commissioner Delegate Guido Bertolaso, for his part, announced that the structures where the delegations will be staying are to provide temporary accommodation, once the summit is over, for those evacuees unable to return to their homes.