Minister Virolainen to Rome

Minister Virolainen to Rome

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen will visit Rome on 3–4 October. During the visit, Virolainen will meet representatives of the Government of Italy and have meetings at UN organisations.

Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen will have a meeting with State Secretary for Economic Development and Investments Michele Geraci from Italy's Ministry of Economy and Finances and with State Secretary for Development Policy and Development Cooperation Emanuela Del Ren from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The discussions will focus on the countries' bilateral trade relations, topical development policy questions currently on the EU agenda, the external dimension of migration, the situation in the trade negotiations under way in the EU, the trade relations between the United States and the EU, and the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Minister Virolainen will also bring up questions under her areas of responsibility among the priorities of Finland's forthcoming EU Presidency.

"Italy is a significant actor in Europe and globally. It is of vital importance that we hold bilateral discussions with Italy's new Government on topical issues such as trade policy and migration.  Italy is Finland's 13th biggest trading partner and the volume of trade is on the rise. There is also much potential for increasing the cooperation," Minister Virolainen says.

Virolainen will also have a meeting with Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization José Graziano Da Silva and with President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gilbert Houngbo. She will also visit the headquarters of the World Food Programme (WFP). Organisations based in Italy are important partners for Finland in the implementation of humanitarian assistance and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a result of prolonged conflicts and climate change, the number of food insecure and hungry people has started to rise after several years' positive trend. Over 800 million people are suffering from hunger. Small farmers, who produce the majority of the food in the world, are among the world's poorest people, most of them being women.

Minister Virolainen and the UN leaders will discuss topical questions, including how to take more advantage of Finnish expertise and know-how in the work of the organisations. "We consider that the organisations in Rome should intensify their cooperation so that the number of people suffering from hunger and malnourishment will start to fall again. Finland's membership in the administrative organs of IFAD and FAO provides excellent opportunities of influence in these matters. Examples of areas in which Finland has much to offer to them include innovations, school meals, and strong cooperation with the private sector," Minister Virolainen says.

Inquiries: Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 40 352 0463.

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