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China-Italy cooperation under Belt and Road crucial: former Italian prime minister

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    11:04, March 22, 2019

File photo of Romano Prodi, the former Italian Prime Minister. Photo via Global Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Italy is of great significance and will bring about a profound impact on bilateral relations, Romano Prodi, the former Italian Prime Minister and former chairman of the European Commission, said in an exclusive interview with People’s Daily, adding that the nation is full of expectations for the Chinese president’s visit.

Prodi said Italy is an important member of the European Union (EU) and China is one of the EUs most important partners, and since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will help raise Italy-China and Europe-China relations to a higher level, Italy should actively participate in this project and develop its advantages.

He also said that there remains wide space for cooperation between Italy and China and both sides should fully explore ways to cooperate and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.

For Italy, the former Prime Minister said deepening cooperation with China is very important, and Italy has a long history of navigation and many decent ports, such as Venice, Trieste, Genoa, and Savona, which all possess advantages in maritime trade and land-sea transport.

Referring to the ancient Silk Road as a valuable historical memory of Italians, Prodi pointed out that Italy and China can therefore work together to expand cooperation under the framework of the BRI to complement mutual advantages and further achieve reciprocal benefit and win-win results.

During his tenure as chairman of the Istituto Per La Ricostruzione Industrial (IRI), Prodi visited Tianjin in the 1980s, establishing a foundation for China-Italy cooperation on a seamless steel pipe plant. He was awarded with a certificate issued in 1993 which recorded the Tianjin government’s invitation to him as an economic consultant.

During the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, China’s economic development and social progress have been witnessed all over the world, Prodi said. Meanwhile, the tremendous achievements of the Chinese people led by the Communist Party of China have not only changed their homeland, but has also brought great deals of opportunities to the world, he said.

The two countries have maintained a kind relationship for a long time and play a positive role in promoting the development of EU-China relations, Prodi added. He believes President Xi’s visit will bolster mutual trust, deepen friendship, and accomplish positive results between two nations, which may boost EU-China cooperation.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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