On June 2, 2020, Italians celebrate the 74th anniversary of the foundation of the Italian Republic. As Ambassador Massimo Rustico puts it, this day also means “sharing and constantly living values such as justice, democracy, equality and solidarity,” especially in such an extraordinary and dramatic moment of history as this one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as you can read in this special Italian compilation, Italy is back, opening up to business and welcoming foreign tourists.
Italy is Back!
BY MASSIMO RUSTICO, AMBASSADOR OF ITALY TO HUNGARY
On June 2nd,, 2020, we celebrate the 74th anniversary of the foundation of the Italian Republic. This year, we are facing an extraordinary and dramatic moment of our history, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our thoughts go to all the victims in Italy, Hungary and every other country in the world. Bearing in mind the emotional message of hope and trust of the President of Italy, H.E. Sergio Mattarella, we celebrate the historic turning point of June 2nd, 1946. The day when, shortly after the end of World War II, the Italians by popular referendum established the Republic and the monarchy was abolished. The Kingdom of Italy founded in 1861 and ruled for 85 years by the Savoy dynasty, was no more.
Unfortunately, the pandemic, which has hit everywhere, has obliged us to modify our original plans to offer again – to all our friends – another memorable event, similar to those we have organized in the past three years at the beautiful venue of the Várkert Bazaar. In the past, you have honoured us with your participation. We were on average well beyond 1,000 persons celebrating the anniversary together. We were so pleased to offer you a unique setup of elegance, technology, entertainment and excellent food & wine. All this made possible thanks to the outstanding support of the Italian industry and its Hungarian and international partners who sponsored the events: an industry which is the pride of Italy and which represents the second largest manufacturing power of Europe; one of the world’s leading exporters and the eighth largest global economy.
Notwithstanding the COVID-19 situation, we could not have left the 74th anniversary of the Italian Republic fall into oblivion. We are grateful to Diplomacy&Trade for hosting us with a special virtual event dedicated to Italy. Similarly, we wish to offer you – through the digital invitation for this celebration – a glimpse of some of the extraordinary beautythat Italy incorporates and that makes it such a unique destination.
This is what Republic Day means to our nation: sharing and constantly living values such as justice, democracy, equality and solidarity – all admirably expressed in our constitutional charter – while working hard to achieve success and being innovative. Through those values, the new democratic Italy soon started to build, with other European nations, what is now the European Union, the most valuable outcome of our common economic and political engagement.
I am touched and proud that during the emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Italians have shown their sense of solidarity, courage and spirit of self-denial. In the case of doctors, nurses, health workers and all those who have kept the country going on, it has often been sheer heroism. The epidemic is a planetary tragedy. In Europe Italy got hit at a very early stage when there was very little awareness, if any, about the COVID-19 disease. We were at the peak of the flu season, so it was hard and unlikely to understand, at such an early phase, what was happening. Not enough timely information was obtained in those dramatic moments from the hotbed of the infection which exploded in Asia. In fact, the whole world was taken by surprise and even the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic at a far later stage.
The North of Italy hosts a gigantic industrial fabric that makes it among the most visited business destinations worldwide. Visitors continued to arrive from the infected areas far away from us. Unfortunately, the virus did not stop at the borders. Today, the whole planet is crying over the dramatic losses in human life, without mentioning the impact on the global economy.
In this respect, I express all the sympathy and support to Hungary and its people, who are also suffering losses and hardships because of the pandemic and are facing this tragic moment with courage and strength. It is comforting, in these circumstances, to remember our long history of mutual respect and affection and the overall intensity of our bilateral relations in every aspect of life and trade.
Italy is a wonderful country that millions of people visit every year. After surmounting such a hard test, where the whole country had to lockdown for more than two months, we are determined to return to being open to the world, faithful to our long-standing tradition as a welcoming country, where people love to share life and beauty with visitors.
We have a very large and diversified industrial system, among the most dynamic and innovative, with a global outreach. We are always among the ten largest exporters worldwide and we invest heavily in the economies of our international partners. Italy is well known for its industry that produces high quality products renowned for their technology, innovation, reliability, design and endurance, and are among the most competitive. R&D is a critical factor in this success and the vision of Industry 4.0 became a reality bringing digitalization into a very wide array of production processes.
On the other hand, you all share the vision of Italy’s historic cities and small villages. A splendid sight inserted in natural masterpieces, with high mountain ranges, long coasts, and islands, rolling hills covered with vineyards, large lakes, and centuries-old forests. The country’s artistic and cultural heritage is unmatched in quality and quantity. With almost five thousand museums, monuments and archaeological areas, Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. So many Italian images flourish in the global collective imagination, such as the Rialto Bridge in Venice, the Duomo of Milan, the Arena of Verona, the Colosseum of Rome, the Maschio Angioino of Naples, the Palatine Chapel of Palermo, to quote only a few.
Italy is also synonymous with high quality of life, with a refined and healthy cuisine, an excellent wine production, the Italian ‘espresso’ as sublime tasting experience for everyone, even in the simplest bars. “Vivere all’Italiana” – live like the Italians do – is part of being trendy, innovative, forward thinkers, hardworking while keeping the taste of life and the meaning of it.
The world simply cannot do without Italian beauty, culture and lifestyle, and it patiently awaits the moment when visiting Italy will be possible again. By then, be sure that Italy will be more than ready! Indeed, thanks to the extremely positive results of the action undertaken so far by the Government and the National healthcare system – including very tough measures aimed to contain the virus that have been followed in a disciplined way by 60 million citizens – we have announced the reopening of the Italian borders with the European member states on June 3rd, 2020. Naturally, prudence shall accompany all of us wherever we live, whichever the country; still, the worst appears to be behind us.
I am convinced that Italy will relaunch itself by drawing on its precious eternal and ancient heritage. Also thanks to the lesson of great humanity that we have given to ourselves and shared with the world. We were the first to suffer in Europe and the first to take measures that have changed our lives drastically for some time at least. Moreover, through our dire experience and thanks to such radical measures undertaken nationwide, we could show the way to our friends and partners, whom got hit by the pandemic a few weeks later. If the COVID-19 did not spare a single corner of the planet, even the most remote ones, only working together we may defeat it.
I quote again the sentiments expressed by H.E. President Sergio Mattarella, by calling upon Italy’s long history in overcoming adversity to re-establish the conditions for the health and safety of its people. We are determined to relaunch the country's economic and social development according to principles of cohesion, fairness and solidarity in a true European spirit of collaboration.
With this feeling of trust and optimism, I wish everyone a happy Italian Republic Day and I thank all of you for sharing it with us and with the vibrant Italian community in Hungary. A community which has never spared its efforts to keep up our bilateral relations in each and every aspect. I also thank all my collaborators at the Italian Embassy for their commitment that has allowed us to remain fully operational during the emergency, as well as the Italian Cultural Institute, the Italian trade Agency and the Italian Hungarian Chamber of Commerce.
I conclude by expressing our deep gratitude to the Hungarian authorities and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in particular, for the untiring support and great friendship showed towards all of us in these difficult times.
Italy Has Restarted!
BY ANTONELLO CANALE, DIRECTOR OF ICE- ITALIAN TRADE AGENCY IN BUDAPEST
On the 74th Anniversary of the Italian Republic, the Italian Trade Agency in Budapest is glad to be part of this special compilation that Diplomacy&Trade and our Embassy have conceived.
The Coronavirus pandemic and the following lockdown almost everywhere are severely affecting the economy globally. Because of the pandemic, the world economy will contract sharply in 2020. It should grow again in 2021, as economic activities get back on track, supported by the governments, international institutions, and the European Commission in particular.
European countries expect to witness a sharp reduction of their GDP and Italy – which is the 3rd largest economy in the European Union and the 8th largest by nominal GDP in the world – is no exception. The Italian GDP fell by 4.7% in Q1 2020, compared to the previous quarter, due to the reduction in domestic and foreign demand, the contraction in exports of goods and services, the temporary collapse of tourism and the significant, though temporary drop in industrial production. No sector is spared anywhere and the recovery will be gradual.
In order to fight the COVID-19 crisis, the Italian government has approved two series of fiscal measures as part of the 2020 Economic and Financial Document, which should help boost the recovery.
In 2019, Italian exports amounted to almost EUR 470 billion and represented almost a third of the GDP with a surplus of EUR 53 billion (+34.9 in 2018).
In the same year, exports increased by 2.3% y/y and mainly addressed EU countries (+55.6%), non-EU European countries (+11%), North America (+10.5%) and the Far East (+8.8%). The growth was driven by the export of advanced industrial & digital, aviation and aerospace equipment, pharmaceutical, chemical and medical items, food and beverage, fashion clothing and vehicles.
With around 130,000 regular exporters, Italy is the ninth exporting country in the world with a market share of 2.8% and the 4th largest in Europe after Germany, The Netherlands and France.
The dramatic health emergency caused by COVID-19 challenges the world economy as never before. The Italian government and its institutions are determined to devise new ways to support the economy and boost the Italian exports in a much more complex environment. Not least because of the serious difficulties of the global supply chain and the paralysis of the flight connections, which remain fundamental for the international cargo shipments.
In this perspective, the Italian Trade Agency, thanks to a worldwide network of 79 offices in 65 countries, will invest heavily to sustain the Italian presence. Special emphasis will be put on the e-commerce platforms, following the path already followed with Amazon and Alibaba. At the same time, the Agency will strengthen the presence of Italian products in the large retail chains.
It will also acquire the rights of an online fair market platform that will be available to the Italian fair system starting from the autumn edition. Thanks to its wide and diversified industrial capacity, Italy is among the largest businesspersons’ destinations attending specialized fairs. One for many, the ‘Salone del Mobile di Milano’ which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from 150 countries.
The Agency will also provide other resources to strengthen the products’ traceability, to protect the ‘Made in Italy’, which is by itself a leading global brand. Moreover, to strengthen the fight against counterfeiting and what is called “Italian sounding.” Italian products are very much appreciated in every corner of the planet for their high quality and design, thanks to the EUR billions invested in the R&D supported by a creativity and a tradition often unmatched. Unfortunately, in far too many places in the world, criminal rings are illegally counterfeiting the Italian products.
Commercial relations with Hungary
Italy is one of Hungary’s largest trading partners with a bilateral trade in excess of EUR 10 billion in 2019. According to the latest Hungarian statistical data (KSH), in the first two months of 2020 the trade between the two countries was recording a +6 % y/y. Italy steadily remains Hungary’s second largest export market after Germany and this trend is enhanced by a substantial surplus from the Hungarian side. The Italian investments are quite substantial, being concentrated into the service industry, especially banking sector and insurance. Several major Italian companies have production or operations here, including a large number of medium sized enterprises active in the manufacturing. Overall, more than two thousand companies owned or participated by Italians are steadily operating in Hungary, employing more than 25,000 persons and producing in excess of EUR 5 billion, which are supporting the Hungarian exports.
ICE’s role in internationalization processes
According to the strategies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) Budapest Office provides support, advice and information to Italian and Hungarian companies. ICE provides a wide range of services helping Italian and Hungarian businesses to connect with each other, like identification of possible business partners, bilateral trade meetings with Italian companies, Hungarian trade delegation visits to Italy, official participation in local fairs and exhibitions, forums and seminars with Italian experts and also specific market research and analysis. All these activities have the common purpose of developing and strengthening bilateral relations between Italy and Hungary.
Italy is back, we have restarted and we will share with you the excellences that make Italy a unique country.
ICE – ITALIAN TRADE AGENCY
ITA - Italian Trade Agency is the Governmental agency that supports the business development of the Italian companies abroad and promotes the attraction of foreign investment in Italy in coordination with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Italian Embassies overseas.
With a motivated and modern organization and a widespread network of overseas offices, ITA provides information, assistance, consulting, promotion and training to Italian small and medium-sized businesses. Using the most modern multi-channel promotion and communication tools, it acts to assert the excellence of Made in Italy in the world.
For more information, please, visit https://www.ice.it/en/about-us
For a Productive Cultural Renaissance
BY GIAN LUCA BORGHESE, DIRECTOR OF THE ITALIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE OF BUDAPEST
On June 2nd, every year, we celebrate the birth of our Republic. By doing so, we remember the reconstruction of an Italy founded on the values of democracy, freedom, justice, and social cohesion by a people who fought to rise from the horrors of the Second World War, redeeming itself from its recent past. This Italy, in its seventy-four years of existence, despite having gone through very difficult moments, has already written beautiful pages of its history. I am thinking in particular of the creation of its constitutional charter, of the post-war economic miracle, of the profound modernization of the country, of its social achievements, of its driving role in the construction of the present-day European Union, gaining respect in the whole world through its economic strength, political action and incomparable cultural impact. These achievements would not have been possible without efforts, crises, and difficult moments, which are in fact the daily bread of a true democracy.
We certainly could not have foreseen, however, that after almost three quarters of a century, on June 2nd, 2020, we would be engaged in a sort of rebirth of the Republic, because of the most difficult test it has endured since 1945. The coronavirus pandemic was and still is, of course, a worldwide tragedy, which struck every corner of the planet after China, but in Italy, it raged with particular intensity.
The generation that rebuilt our country after the war was perfectly aware that the huge task they had before them could not be faced without calling upon the country’s cultural heritage, without setting the promotion of culture as the cornerstone of the reconstruction. This is why article 9 of our constitutional charter reads: “The Republic promotes the development of culture and scientific and technical research. It protects the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the nation.”
We also read in the Dialogues of Saint Augustine that“ Bad times, hard times, people say. Let us live well, and the times will be good. We are the times”. We can thus also celebrate this anniversary of the Republic as a good time, at least to the extent that Italians have been able to respond to the pandemic with courage, sacrifice and solidarity, in a collective reaction that made the country reach the most intense moment of national cohesion in its history. The whole population manifested its patriotic feeling, without rhetoric, through a series of simple gestures, paying tribute to those who suffered and to those who were fighting on the front line. The country has succeeded, under absolutely critical circumstances, in finding prompt solutions to combat the pandemic. It has been negotiating at a European level a possible way out of the crisis, inspired by the principle of solidarity, which was far from obvious during the initial weeks of international dismay. In those same weeks, after the outbreak of the epidemic in Italy, we also received genuine expressions of sympathy and moral support from many countries, near and far away. We want to reciprocate those expressions of solidarity, in particular to Hungary and its people, who have faced the health emergency with courage and determination and who are always mindful of the ties that unite our two countries.
For the economic and social revitalization of Italy, I trust that we will be able to regenerate the times we are living in, according Saint Augustine’s lesson: by amplifying our perception of cultural promotion, where culture is conceived in its widest scope, as the cultivation of fairness, inclusion, and eco-sustainable development. By experiencing a truly vital, renewable and productive cultural Renaissance, mirroring the authentic sense that we constitute a community in a multicultural and modern dimension.
We are all called on to achieve this objective through our Public Administration and private entrepreneurship, schools and universities, foundations and associations, museums and libraries, at a national and international level. The best strategy for economic and social growth is cooperation and cultural osmosis, worthy of being promoted without underestimating the originality of each individual contribution. With this sentiment, I wish everyone happy Republic Day.
Long live the Republic, long live Italy!
Italian Art, Landscape and Cuisine
BY ENIT – ITALY’S NATIONAL TOURIST BOARD
In Italy, art, landscape and food form such a perfect combination to make a trip to our country an unforgettable experience. This year, we cannot celebrate the Republic Day as we would like, and so far, we couldn’t welcome visitors who visit Italy by the millions from all over the world. But this is about to change in a very short time. It is now possible to plan a journey, from June 3rd, that will allow you to enjoy the architecture, nature and the immense variety of regional dishes and recipes in Italy during the summer. The experience will open your senses and reveal a world of tastes that tempt your palate, eyes, and heart.
Start from the Dolomites: the high mountains of incomparable beauty, with their snowy peaks, lakes and breath-taking views. In Ortisei, after a walking tour in the lovely center, you can taste dumplings in broth (bread dumplings stuffed with speck and eggs and served in broth or butter). While San Candido’s speciality is tirtlan, fried ravioli stuffed with sauerkraut or with ricotta and spinach.
In the Veneto region, Venice rises like a dream from the sea and dazzles the visitor with its beauty. The Basilica of S. Marco, the Rialto bridge and the Ca' d'Oro are unmissable. The most typical Venetian dish might be the liver (beef or veal) cooked with onions, butter and oil, sometimes served with a little polenta. Otherwise, Hungarians are familiar with risi e bisi, a typical risotto with green peas. Stepping foot on the island of Torcello, the visitor will enjoy the sight of precious mosaics and will taste a typical dish of the lagoon, polenta seasoned with fried prawns. Nearby Chioggia, a miniature Venice appears, with its rich fish market and offers proudly a culinary masterpiece, spaghetti with stewed clams and cuttlefish.
In Lombardy, Bergamo, with the Contarini fountain, the Palazzo della Ragione, the civic tower, the vertical forest and the Colleoni chapel, is an architectural treasure chest. Its typical dishes are ravioli made with breadcrumbs, sausage and Parmigiano or buckwheat polenta. To the east of Bergamo stands the noble city of Brescia, proudly showing its basilica of S. Salvatore as well as the church of S. Giulia. In the city, it is possible to taste dumplings stuffed with cheese and pumpkin. Nearby the Garda Lake, stands the town of Sirmione where the evocative ruins of Grottoes of Catullus can be visited, so as, afterwards, to enjoy the excellent fried fish from the lake.
In the Emilia-Romagna region, Parma is home of the world-famous, sweet dry-cured prosciutto, while in Reggio Emilia it is possible to enjoy the best selection of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Modena, on the other hand, is the home of the pasta called tortellino and the famous balsamic vinegar.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the Amalfi Coast, in the Campania region, is one of the most evocative stretches of the Italian coast. Amalfi has a splendid cathedral built with precious marbles. A typical dish is handmade pasta with clams. Positano and Ravello are the other gems along the coast, all of which provide a sweeping view of the sea. Finally comes Cetara, very famous for its exquisite anchovies.
Catania opens the door to Sicily with its art and culinary treasures. The cathedral of Sant'Agata and the Palazzo degli Elefanti are unmissable as are the typical dishes of spaghetti with sea urchins, grilled fish, the arancini, cannoli and cassate sweets.
The Bel Paese’s – the beautiful country – amazing local dishes are an integral component of the good life in Italy. To protect and safeguard this unique aspect of Italian culture and heritage, particularly against the urgencies of modern life, Carlo Petrini created the international non-profit organization of Slow Food in 1986. Now an international organization, it counts more than 100,000 members. Slow Food’s mission is the promotion of food education as the best defense of local cuisine and its traditional methods of production and preparation. Additionally, the organization acts to protect local plant and animal species from extinction, and guard against low-quality industrial foodstuffs and production scams.
On this Republic Day, it has been a real pleasure to narrate some of the beauties and joys of our great country. Please, bear in mind that Italy, as beautiful as ever, is waiting to welcome back tourists from Hungary as well as from all over the world.
A Chamber with Resilience
BY FRANCESCO MARIA MARI, PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN HUNGARY
On June 2nd, 1947, the Italian Republic celebrated its first anniversary. Today, for the first time in 73 years, this event will take place in a virtual way! It is an epochal change the effects of which have led to a new way of working.
The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hungary (CCIU) is a private association counting almost 300 partners. Founded in Budapest in the early ‘90s, it has been promoting commercial relations between Italy and Hungary for almost 30 years. It is a point of reference of networking, integration and development of the Italian-Hungary business community, pivoting its action on two specific pillars: networking and information.
The networking activity has become extremely difficult due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Therefore, the Association, had to completely re-design its working approach and it is now even more effective than before.
In physics, ‘resilience’ is the abilityof a substance to return to its usual shape after a physical shock; in economics, it is the policy-induced ability of an economy to withstand or recover from the effects of shocks. Only flexible and efficient organizations are able to grow, and possibly thrive, in uncertain, competitive and challenging environments. ‘Resilience’ is also the inspiring motive of our activity, through which we want to prove that it is possible to turn a problem into an opportunity.
Italy is one of Hungary's most important business
partners, with 25,000 employees and over 2,500 companies throughout the
. Italian commercial and entrepreneurial presence can
offer an invaluable contribution to Hungarian recovery.
CCIU has a growing number of initiatives in the pipeline:
- realizing a survey concerning the Italian business presence in Hungary
- mapping all Italian companies in Hungary
- providing a list of potential partners to Hungarian entrepreneurs in order to foster trade between Italy and Hungary
- establishing new commercial ties through a tailor-made B2B approach
The CCIU program includes numerous webinars aimed at making partners aware of all the fiscal and economic measures that the Hungarian government has implemented to relaunch the economy.
Other virtual events, on the other hand, are organized to promote direct contacts between Italian and Hungarian companies in specific sectors, such as: agri-food, mechanical industry, services, manufacturing industry and catering.
From September, meetings will take place: workshops concerning the introduction and functioning of the main Hungarian governmental institutions and seminars on Italian products (such as food products from specific Italian regions).
In addition to networking, the dissemination of information is the second pillar of our activities, and for this reason, we will be engaged in several presentations throughout the main Hungarian regions, in collaboration with several Hungarian regional chambers of commerce.
The severity of the economic consequences caused by COVID-19 is undisputed, but we believe that a tighter commercial engagement between Italy and Hungary will foster a quicker economic recovery. The Italian Embassy, the Italian Trade Agency, the National Italian Tourism Agency, the Italian Institute of Culture and the Italian Chamber of Commerce are institutions with a long-standing tradition and professionalism. They will most certainly be up to the task of ensuring the necessary support for a fast recovery and the further growth of bilateral relations.
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