“(…) Now I would like to address the young people.
I am well-aware, that for you, work and dignity go hand in hand. I realise that today in our country there is a lack of work opportunities, and where there is work it is often insecure and underpaid. This situation affects all in the work force, and even more so you, young people.
Your generation has received more education than those who have come before you. You have both – great knowledge and great potential, and deserve every opportunity to become full protagonists of life in our society.
Many of you study or work in other European countries. This is often a great opportunity. But it must also be a matter of free choice. If you are obliged to leave Italy for lack of opportunities, this signals, that our country is suffering an unhealthy situation which needs to be remedied. Young people who make this choice are always deserving of respect and support.
When the experience gained abroad cannot be brought back to our homeland, all of society becomes impoverished.
In February 2016 in a university in New York, I met with some students from all over the world. One girl opened her contribution by affirming that she feels she is a European, as well as an Italian citizen. Experiences of young people like her who share values, ideas and culture with others show that Europe is not simply the product of treaties. A continent that for centuries was divided by hostilities, chose the path of peace and joint development.
These young people understand that the choices of our times are best faced together. They comprehend the value of peaceful European integration, all the more when faced with the tragic situation in Aleppo, the thousands of people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and the many conflicts around the world.
They do not accept the contradiction represented in a Europe that is divided and indolent, over issues such as the question of immigration.
We expect the Union to show tangible gestures of solidarity in the context of the distribution of refugees and a dignified management of repatriation for those who are not granted asylum. (…)”
Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy, address to the nation, 31st December 2016