The Rimini Meeting and politics
Faithful to its purpose of confronting the whole range of human experience, ever since its first edition in 1980 the Rimini Meeting has broken a taboo that sees culture and art as occupying different time-slots and locations from politics. With all the strength it gains from being the creation of a social movement – which was founded, developed and still endures for reasons unconnected with politics – the Rimini Meeting chose from the start to give a hearing to leading figures in politics and people who institutionally represent the themes dealt with at the event, as well as those eminent for their knowledge and experience in other spheres of human achievement.
Of the Presidents of the Italian Republic holding office since the institution of the Meeting, two have visited it officially: Francesco Cossiga in 1991 and Oscar Luigi Scalfaro in 1993. Sandro Pertini’s planned visit to Meeting '83 failed to take place because the President was unwell. In 2007 President Napoletano sent a video messaggio, which was transmitted during the inaugural encounter.
The following are some of the leading political figures who have participated in the various editions of the Meeting:
1980 Giulio Andreotti (thereafter a regular guest).
1981 Roberto Formigoni (a frequent guest at later editions), Simone Veil, Emilio Colombo, Giovanni Spadolini, Egon Alfred Klepsch.
1982 Vincenzo Scotti, Virgilio Rognoni.
1983 Arnaldo Forlani, Gerhard Schroeder.
1984 Amintore Fanfani, Piero Bassetti, Paolo Emilio Taviani.
1985 Hans Dietrich Genscher.
1986 Boutros Boutros Ghali, Elias Freij, Melina Mercouri, Antonio Gava.
1987 Hans D. Genscher, Giovanni Goria.
1988 Gianni De Michelis, Giovanni Spadolini, Claudio Martelli, Vittorio Sbardella, Alexander Langer, Bechir Boumaza, Roland Dumas.
1989 Luciano Pellicani, Antonello Trombadori, Gennaro Acquaviva.
1990 Hans Dietrich Genscher, Lech Walesa.
1991 Francesco Cossiga, Fang Lin Zhi, Anatoly Afanasiev, Massimo D'Alema, Marco Boato.
1992 Rosa Russo Iervolino, Piot Konopka, Ciriaco De Mita, Vittorio Sbardella, Aldo Brandirali, Walter Veltroni.
1993 Beniamino Andreatta, Feisal Husseini, Helmut Kohl, Mino Martinazzoli, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Marco Taradash.
1994 Alfredo Biondi, Irene Pivetti, Tiziana Maiolo, Massimo Cacciari, Mario Clemente Mastella, Giulio Tremonti.
1995 Susanna Agnelli, Anatolij Chubais, Tiziano Treu, Antonio Paolucci, Gabriele Gatti.
1996 Luigi Berlinguer, Gianni Mattioli, Charles A. Gargano.
1997 Luigi Berlinguer, Domenico Fisichella, Marco Boato, Emma Bonino, Lorenzo Strik Lievers, Lamberto Dini.
1998 Janne Haaland Matlary, Pier Luigi Bersani, Igor Zaich, Livia Turco, Carlo Casini, Nicola Mancino
1999 Giulio Andreotti, Lamberto Dini, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Hanna Suchocka, Mario Mauro, Giorgio Lisi, Staffan De Mistura, Marco Minniti, Ibrahim Rugova, Milan Komnenic, Romano Prodi.
2000 Silvio Berlusconi, Romano Prodi, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Umberto Veronesi, Bassan Abu Sharif, Noureddine Boukrouh, Staffan De Mistura, Mohamed Kettani, Abdelouhab Maalmi, Alejandro Agag Longo.
2001 Those present include: Giulio Tremonti, Roberto Castelli, Maurizio Gasparri, Letizia Moratti, Girolamo Sirchia, Roberto Maroni, Rocco Buttiglione, Giuseppe Pisanu.
2002 Romano Prodi returns as President of the European Commission to speak of “The Europe of the Future”, while Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister, speaks of “Italy’s New Role in the World.” The President of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, speaks of “The Sense of the State.” In addition to Letizia Moratti, who returns to the Meeting to speak of the universities, the ministers present include Girolamo Sirchia, Rocco Buttiglione, Giovanni Alemanno, Antonio Marzano. Other speakers are Pierluigi Bersani, Maurizio Lupi and Ghassan Salamé, Libanese Culture Minister.
2003 Pier Ferdinando Casini, President of the Chamber of Deputies, opens the 24th edition on the theme: “On the Side of Those Who Serve the Whole.” Great expectancy surrounds two debates about the common good and reformism: between Massimo D’Alema and Gianfranco Fini, and between Piero Fassino and Roberto Formigoni. A particular concern with Europe and international emergencies was expressed by the Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, the president of the European Parliament Pat Cox, the Minister of the Interior Giuseppe Pisanu, the Director General of the FAO Jacques Diouf, the Vice-President of Uganda Gilbert Bukenya, the Argentine Economic Minister Roberto Lavagna.
In addition to Giovanni Alemanno, Maurizio Gasparri, Roberto Maroni, Altero Matteoli, the other speakers include: Giulio Andreotti, Francesco Cossiga, Pierluigi Bersani, Gianni De Michelis, Luis Solari de la Fuente, Jane Kopač, Chérif Rahmani, Giorgio Guazzaloca, Franco Debenedetti, Enrico Letta, Ermete Realacci, Andrea Ranieri, Umberto Vattani, Fiorenzo Stolfi.
2004 This Meeting is notable for two international presences: the Foreign Ministers of Israel Silvan Shalom and of Palestine, Nebeel Shaat, together with Franco Frattini of Italy. Also present at the Meeting are Roberto Moussalem De Andrade, Minister for Urban Development of the State of Bahia in Brazil, and the Italians Maurizio Gasparri, Minister of Communications, Pietro Lunardi, Minister for Infrastructures and Transport, Antonio Marzano, Minister for Productive Activities and Giuseppe Pisanu Interior Minister. Also present is the Parliamentary Inter-Party Commission for Subsidiarity: deputies and sweantors of different parties who work together to foster the principles of subsidiarity,.
2005 At a Meeting distinguished above all for its attention to major international issues, a notable event is the Foreign Policy encounter "Horizons of Peace", with a discussion between the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Iraq, Abdullah Abdullah and Hoshyar Al Zebari, with the Italian minister Gianfranco Until and Franco Berardi, Foreign Secretary of the Republic of San Marino. The subject is the value of a civilization based on freedom, already explored in the event’s keynote speech by Marcello Pera, President of the Senate. Debate also focuses on Europe, its identity and its roots, with contributions from Josè Maria Aznar, Hans-Gert Poettering, Mario Mauro, Franco Frattini, Giuseppe Pisanu, Joseph H. H. Weiler and Giorgio Vittadini. Further issues discussed at the Meeting were Brazil, Africa, Ireland, Ukraine and Russia. Speakers included the ministers Giovanni Alemanno, Rocco Buttiglione, Pietro Lunardi, Altero Matteoli, Giulio Tremonti. Of particular interest is the debate between Roberto Formigoni and Francesco Rutelli on the subject of reformism.
2006 One issue is at the heart of the political encounters at the Meeting 2006, "Freedom in Liberalization." What is entailed by the demand for increased freedom, in the various attempts to de-bureaucratize society and the state? Work is the topic of debate between the former Employment Minister Roberto Maroni and Cesare Damiano, the present minister. Senators Giuseppe Pisanu and Francesco Rutelli, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, answer questions about the choice between subsidiarity and statism. A few day before the application of a general amnesty, Giulio Andreotti and Clemente Mastella, Minister of Justice, thrash out the subject of work in the prisons. On development, there is a debate between Giulio Tremonti and Guglielmo Epifani. Finally, there is a wide-ranging discussion, chaired by Oscar Giannino, between Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the opposition, and Roberto Formigoni, President of the Lombardy Region. Politicians – Paola Binetti, Luca Volontè – and others deal with topics such as bioethics, the family and Islam. The inaugural encounter of the Meeting is presented by Franco Marini, President of the Senate. Pierluigi Bersani together with Giancarlo Cesana and Joseph Weiler, speak at the closing encounter, devoted to the presentation of Father Giussani’s book, "From Utopia to Presence (1975-1978)."
2007 Europe is at the center of interest with the opening address delivered by the President of the European Parliament Hans Gert Poettering, but also with the presence of Jan Figel, Commissioner for Education, who speaks together with the Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni and the Romanian Education Minister Cristian Adomnitei. Also on the table is the situation in Lebanon with the Acting Foreign Minister and Minister of Culture Tarek Mitri and in the Basque Countries with Jaime Mayor Oreja, Vice-President of the European People’s Party European (Christian Democrats) and the European Democrats, and Mario Mauro, Vice President of the European Parliament.
On the Italian front, where there is a growing distrust of politics, the Meeting sought a true dialogue, going beyond party loyalties. On institutional reforms with Vannino Chiti, Minister for Relations with Parliament and Institutional Reforms and Roberto Formigoni, President of the Lombardy Region; on jobs with the Labor Minister Caesar Damiano and the Secretary of the CISL Raffaele Bonanni. The traditional faceoff saw the secretary of the DS Piero Fassino and the former minister Giulio Tremonti. A rare bird in this climate was the cross-party group for Subsidiarity with the parliamentarians Lupi, Letta, Alemanno, Sposetti, Realacci, Volontè. The minister Luigi Nicolais and the American Ambassador Spogli spoke of the challenges to the Italian system, while the minister De Castro dealt with agriculture and the problem of the climate together with Fulvio Conti. Also on the agenda was justice, with the judge of the American Supreme Court Samuel A. Alito Jr.
2008 Great prominence is given to the great themes of current affairs and not to gossip or skirmishes between opponents: on fiscal federalism with the Minister Calderoli and the cross-party group for Subsidiarity, on the Region government and the city with Roberto Formigoni and Gianni Alemanno, on school with the presence of the Minister Gelmini and the Senator Garavaglia, on prisons with the Minister Alfano, on jobs and welfare with the Minister Sacconi and the union leader Bonanni. In the limelight also international politics with the encounter between the Minister Frattini, the General Secretary of the Arab League, Moussa and the Cardinal Tauran, chaired by the Vice President of the European Parlament Mario Mauro. Finally the theme of human rights with the American Ambassador at the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon.
2009 The Meeting reconfirms as the place where we come back to speaking about themes of the common living with people in charge of the institutions, of the Italian government and of the opposition, who accept to confront themselves on real themes of the life of a people, from education to work, from economy to justice. The protagonists are: Renato Schifani, Mario Draghi and Giulio Tremonti, Angelino Alfano, Maurizio Sacconi, Claudio Scajola, Mara Carfagna, Mariastella Gelmini, Roberto Calderoli and Luca Zaia, Pierluigi Bersani and Enrico Letta.