Italy's deputy foreign minister Emanuela Del Re and Finland's foreign trade and international development minister Anne-Mari Virolainen on Thursday stressed the "excellent bilateral relations" between their two countries during talks in Rome Thursday which also covered migration from Africa, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The African continent is at the centre of Italy’s interests,” said Del Re, underlining that development programmes must aim at releasing all of its "enormous potential", through partnerships with African countries and through a focus on individual human development.
"Minister Virolainen agreed with this approach and also agreed with Deputy Foreign Minister Del Re on the importance of investing in the empowerment of women," said the foreign ministry statement.
Del Re also recalled the importance of the landmark peace agreement signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia last month, which she said showed the existence of a "new momentum" in the African continent, the statement said.
Del Re and Virolainen discussed "the external dimension of European migration policies and the EU’s priorities in the field of development cooperation, with a special focus on Africa, also in view of Finland’s rotating presidency of the EU Council in the second semester of 2019," the statement added.
During their talks, Del Re briefed Virolainen on Italy's view of migration as a global challenge that cannot handled by single countries alone and which requires an international response that shares the burden posed by the phenomenon and which tackles its root causes.
Virolainen "expressed her support for the Italian position and Finland’s support for migrant relocation policies within the EU," the statement concluded.