The moment when Italy became a global convener after the UK

Boris Johnson has the right to be the chairman of the G7 major economy group and the chairman of the United Nations COP26 climate conference. He is not the only one who seized the opportunity of global convening power this year. The same goes for Italy.

Rome served as the presidency of the G20 for a year, with the largest high-income countries joining the largest emerging economic powers such as China, India and Brazil. It is also the co-chair of COP26 and the United Kingdom, although this is a secondary matter. However, the G20, which will be held in Venice next month, is now where the G7 passes.

On most issues on the global agenda—international taxation, global vaccine campaigns, economic recovery, and climate change—it will be difficult to go further without cooperation between high-income countries and developing countries.

“For the first time we have begun to see the sequence from G7 to G20 and then to broader institutionalized multilateral diplomacy in such an obvious way,” such as OECD taxes or WTO vaccine patents, said Nathalie Tocci, Italian Institute of International Affairs.

Many of the world’s biggest challenges can only be resolved when the major rich countries first reach a consensus, then reach an understanding with the emerging powers and finally ally with all relevant countries. Torch said this makes the G20 a key link in this “cascade of multilateralism.”

How will Italy view this opportunity? Observers of Italian foreign policy agree that the position of Prime Minister Mario Draghi is very different. “Draghi’s personal status in the international arena is so high that his voice will be more relevant than that of Italy,” said Marta Dassu, former deputy foreign minister of Italy.

Dasu said that under Draghi’s leadership, Italy’s foreign policy stance “returned to a clear pro-European and pro-Atlantic route.”

There are also breakthroughs in style and rhetoric. “Italy’s classic strategy is to wait and see and tend not to participate in conflicts,” said Arturo Varvelli, head of the Rome office of the European Commission on Foreign Relations. “In the current era, Draghi understands that if you don’t participate, you will be completely excluded from the negotiating table.”

Italy under Draghi has established a clearer distance from countries such as Turkey (whose leaders he called the “dictator”), Russia and China. Dasu pointed out that Italy is now actively using the power of “golden stocks” to prevent China’s acquisitions in sensitive areas.

This coincides with Draghi’s attempt to “restart US-Europe relations” by US President Joe Biden. The US will continue to ensure Europe’s security, but Europe will support its efforts to oppose China’s foreign policy and economic ambitions. Instead of choosing a more independent route, Valvilli said.

But this means Draghi can “build on the new Western consensus [it] It will not be enough to reach out to the rest. .. Dassù stated that Draghi may not be an ideal bridge between rich and poor countries.

However, compared with other Western countries, Italy may still be in a good position to build consensus, Tocchi said. She said that Italian diplomacy has traditionally not depended on “(the country)’s ability to move countries forward together”, but on the fact that “everyone likes us”. Despite its colonial history in Africa, the country has not aroused the same vigilance as France or Britain. Italy may be “the right country at the right time.”

Italy’s international role is also very important at home. Another consistent point with Biden is that Draghi is willing to invest heavily in support of a sustainable economic recovery after the impact of the pandemic. “In the near future, the choice to help the world recover will become the universal paradigm,” Varvelli said. In a country strongly tempted by nationalist populism, showing that the matching of national and collective interests will put Draghi in a “good position to restore Italy’s support for multilateralism.”

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