The European Union's unity is crucial to meet the difficult challenges of our times, such as the Coronavirus pandemic and Russia's devastating offensive in Ukraine, Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Monday.
"Today, we are all aware not just of the importance but also of the necessity of a Europe that is united within and which speaks powerfully with one voice," Di Maio said.
In concluding remarks to the Ventotene Europa Festival by videolink, Di Maio underlined the vital role young people in forging the EU's response to global challenges such as the pandemic, climate change and poverty.
Students from all over Europe are attending the annual festival held on Italy's Mediterranean island of Ventotene, which this year is focused on the Ukraine conflict and how to obtain a rapid ceasefire.
Di Maio also called for reform of the EU to make it "more united, stronger and independent but also more inclusive and supportive...capable of rapid and effective decision-making on the issues that affect citizens' lives."