Polish, Italian presidents discuss EU's economy, Belarus

Piotr Nowak/PAP

The presidents of Poland and Italy, Andrzej Duda and Sergio Mattarella, on Wednesday discussed the future of the EU economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and the situation in Belarus, head of the Polish President's Office Krzysztof Szczerski told PAP.

The two presidents met in Rome during the first day of President Duda's official visit to Italy.

Szczerski said that the talks covered the future of the European economy after overcoming the pandemic crisis, including the need for financial and investment cooperation aimed at bringing back production processes to the European Union. He noted that cooperation of Polish and Italian companies has a large role to play here.

The presidents also referred to Duda's April letter to leaders of EU, Eastern Partnership and Balkan countries containing a five-point plan for international cooperation after defeating the coronavirus pandemic.

The heads of state also discussed the situation in Belarus. According to Szczerski, Duda and Matarella expressed "common concern and lack of acceptance for actions against citizens taken by the Belarusian authorities."

The presidents emphasised that "Belarusians should be given the right to speak out in free elections so that they could define their future," said Szczerski adding that the two presidents had agreed that "nobody is allowed to treat Belarus instrumentally, this also applies to Russia, and that the EU must be active in Belarus and make decisions that would support the right of Belarusians to free elections."

The parties also highlighted the need for transatlantic unity and dialogue between Europe and the US, said Szczerski, adding that the presidents indicated that the basis for this is a common security vision within the entire Alliance and emphasised the role of Poland and Italy as countries on two NATO flanks.

The presidents' talks also focused on the problems of migration from the South and East. Szczerski said that President Duda declared that Poland was ready to continue to help in patrolling the Mediterranean Sea.

Duda and Mattarella also discussed both countries' cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 and in the search for a European vaccine against the coronavirus. The president of Italy thanked Duda for sending a Polish medical mission to Lombardy a few months ago.