[autom.vertaling] Toespraak - EXPO2015 eerste manifestatie (en)

European Commission

Antonio Tajani

Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship

EXPO2015 inaugural event

Opening speech/Milan

7 July 2013

Mr President of the Republic,

Prime Minister,

Mr President of the Lombardy Region,

In less than two years' time, Italy and Milan will invite the world to look into the future. EXPO 2015 will first and foremost be a forum for ideas and creative solutions capable of tackling global challenges.

Here will lie the final frontier of European industrial innovation, which is an essential part of our efforts to provide lasting solutions to matters such as demographic growth, scarcity of resources, energy security and climate change.

Milan is the ideal venue for a world fair focusing on creativity. It has always been a crossroads of cultures, peoples and trade, which over the centuries has made the city particularly receptive to anything new.

Milan is also a city of patrons, capable of welcoming the finest talents. I am thinking of Leonardo Da Vinci: a true precursor of modern industrial design, which has flowered in Milan as nowhere else.

Milan has not only played a leading role in the unification and modernisation of Italy, it has also acted as a fertile seedbed for great, valiant, far-sighted captains of industry - leading players in the real economy who have been able to achieve their aims thanks to the hard work of many, many Lombard folk and similar numbers of men and women from the South.

In this city the most diverse industries have flourished: chemicals, mechanical engineering, fashion. The same relentless driving ambition lies behind them all: that of achieving growth in order to create jobs.

Selecting food as the main theme of the event signifies recognition of the fact that current models and resources are incapable of keeping up with demographic growth.

Despite all the progress made, 870 million people still go hungry. In 2050 the world's population will have reached 9 billion. Agriculture - which will come under increasing pressure - will have to boost production by 70% in order to satisfy new demands.

In addition to technology, sustainable access to food resources will require price stability and action to combat speculation.

The agri-food sector is of strategic importance to Europe: it certainly generates growth and employment but it also - and in particular - constitutes a source of well-being and health. This is why the European Commission is working to improve safety, innovation and traceability, whilst more effectively combating counterfeiting and protecting designations of origin.

For this reason I have suggested to the organisers that they should include in the EXPO programme a theme-based meeting of the 28-member European SME Ambassadors network, to be devoted to research and innovation.

The European earth-observation and satellite-navigation systems - Copernicus, Galileo and Egnos - also have important applications in agriculture. I am thinking of automatic precision sowing, irrigation and stockbreeding management, and the monitoring of climate change.

Just before EXPO opens its doors, some of the services to be provided by Galileo and Copernicus (the first entirely European systems of their kind) will come into operation. In addition to agriculture, the spin-offs from those systems will benefit other sectors of key importance to competitiveness, such as logistics, mobility, energy, financial services and security - the estimated impact being 90 billion over the next 20 years. For this reason we have decided to set up within EXPO an interactive exhibition which will introduce visitors to a wide range of practical, everyday space-technology applications.

EXPO 2015 will provide an extraordinary opportunity to increase the numbers of tourists visiting Milan, Italy and Europe. In the European Commission's Tourism Action Plan, EXPO is one of the events designed to attract more visitors. We shall do all we can to ensure that it constitutes a golden opportunity to respond to the demand from the new emerging middle classes - Russians, Chinese, Brazilians, Indians - who are increasingly keen to travel.

In order to achieve this objective, we are working with a variety of EU countries on the task of devising initiatives that will encourage longer stays (including in the low season) and promote a high-quality product.

However, simplifying the procedure for issuing visas is the real key to significantly increasing tourist numbers in 2015. Together with my colleague Cecilia Malmström, we are looking at various ways of responding to the requests which have been expressed - including at the recent G20 summit held in Mexico. So by the end of the year we shall review the European Visa Code in order to draw up a framework of rules more favourable to tourism.

This means strengthening and modernising an industrial sector which is capable of boosting the agri-food, culture, clothing and construction sectors.

Mr President of the Republic,

Prime Minister,

Mr President of the Lombardy Region,

Europe intends to invest resources and ideas in EXPO, which is a major opportunity for promoting Europe's industrial rebirth and its technological leadership.

EXPO will be a moment for taking pride in European excellence and quality. Milan will project the image of a continent which has been able to overcome difficulties whilst remaining united and refocusing on its speciality: manufacturing, which truly brings together European people's abilities to create, innovate and reinvent themselves - and also to display solidarity with other parts of the world, where millions suffer still.