NEW YORK—Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni came to New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò on Tuesday for the first official stop of his New York visit, scheduled for the opening of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. In his remarks, Gentiloni praised Italy’s “economic and political profound stability.”

“Yes, we can have different governments,” he said during his talk with Stefano Albertini, director of the Casa Italiana. But, he added, “I think that we don’t have a chance of real anti-establishment, anti-Europe position winning the government.”

Gentiloni was asked to form a new, temporary government in December, after Renzi resigned. Since then, he has gained the trust of many Italians; a recent poll by Demos & Pi suggests that Gentiloni—who is a member of Renzi’s Democratic Party—is the most liked politician in Italy at the moment. After Giulio Andreotti, he is the first sitting Italian head of government to visit New York University.

Paolo Gentiloni at NYU’s Casa Italiana. Photo by Shushi Chen.

“The problems we faced in the last years were serious and challenging,” said Gentiloni. He was referring in particular to the issue of migration, mentioning a controversial deal he signed with Libya earlier this year to curb the flow of migrants into Italy. “We’re trying to manage the problem, to reduce the flows and organize them better.”

The minister also referred to the economic crisis, from which Italy is still struggling to recover, although he said that the country is “out” of the recession.

When asked by an audience member about the issue of the “brain drain”—the thousands of young Italians leaving Italy to find opportunities abroad—Gentiloni mentioned a Bloomberg study that ranked Italy as the country with the world’s healthiest people.

At the end of the talk, the prime minister stressed the importance of multilateral agreements in diplomacy with North Korea. “How can we solve [the issue of] North Korea without a multilateral approach?” he said, speaking of US president Donald Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly. “We need several players to solve this problem.”

Photo: Shushu Chen / Courtesy of Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, New York University.

Posted by Simone Somekh

Born and raised in Turin, Italy, Simone Somekh has worked with publications based in Milan, Jerusalem, Berlin, Tokyo, and New York. He is currently pursuing an M.A. degree in Journalism and European & Mediterranean Studies at New York University. Follow him on Twitter @simonsays101

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