How does the Ambassador of Italy cope with the stress related to the regular moves due to the profession and why was the mission to Moldova different from the others, in other corners of the world?; With what opinion about Moldova, the Moldovans and a part of the Moldovan press does she leave our country?; What is the current level of the relations between Moldova and Italy?; What satisfaction and dissatisfaction, joy, frustration and regret brought this mission to her?; What is the meaning of the Italian diplomat’s message “of hope and encouragement” for Moldova and the Moldovans? Answers to these and other questions can be found in the interview given to Valeriu Vasilică by the Ambassador of the Italian Republic to the Republic of Moldova Valeria Biagiotti on the completion of her duties.
- IPN: Your Excellency, how angry are you with your profession of diplomat because, at a certain interval, with considerable regularity, it takes you from a particular corner of the world where you presumably stated to develop spiritual and other kinds of roots to another corner of the world and the procedure with the development and damage of roots repeats again and again? How do you cope with this “stress” and what kind of “vaccines” do you use for the purpose?
Valeria Biagiotti: First of all, I want to apologize because I will speak Italian. I remember I promised you that next time I will speak Romanian, but I do not yet feel ready to do so in such a complex interview and will continue in the Italian language…
- IPN: …Please, believe me, you speak very well, but it could be slightly more stressing for you. So, let’s avoid the stress at least where we can do it…
- Valeria Biagiotti: Several days ago, when employees of the transport company were packing and carrying my persons belonging, I thought that it will do. I will no longer move. The change of the country of residence and of the mission is a very nice experience as this is a possibility of learning new things, knowing new persons, different cultures and mentalities and you enrich your professional experience a lot as we can change the position within the same profession. At the same time, it is a very stressing personal experience as, every time you move, you need to acquire and learn new abilities and professional skills. For example, my experience here, as Head of Mission, is fully different from the previous experience as part of Italy’s UN budget negating team in New York.
Furthermore, each time the change of home, separation from friends, change of habits are not at all easy. As I age, I probably stated to feel this more. What’s the remedy? It is first of all the love and enthusiasm for the own work.
Besides, the possibility of changing the country and of moving together with the family ensure a particular dose of continuity. Furthermore, I always have my cats close to me. They have been near me since my first mission abroad.
I also believe it is important to more or less maintain the same habits, the same hobbies. For example, even if I have been less active from this viewpoint in the recent period, I’ve practiced jogging during all my missions.
- IPN: I asked you about angers, stress and “vaccines” as time has come to leave Moldova. Did the same set of instruments and ”vaccines” work in the “Moldovan episode” or you had to adjust them somehow? It is a kind of asking you why was your stay in the Republic of Moldova different from the previous missions and possibly the future missions?
- Valeria Biagiotti: My mission in Moldova was a distinct experience as I was named ambassador for the first time and this means I took over a body with more responsibilities, but simultaneously with greater autonomy compared with the previous missions.
Even compared with my previous experiences as part of international organizations, for example, in Strasbourg and New York, this time I had more direct contacts with the local reality and this was a form of remedy for overcoming the change-related difficulties.
In my previous experiences, I met more with foreigners, representatives from other countries. Here, I had direct contact with Moldova. I aimed to know the Moldovan citizens, local realities and often took part in events where I was the only foreigner.
- IPN: What opinion about Moldova and the Moldovans will you take with you?
- Valeria Biagiotti: I leave Moldova with a strong feeling of attachment and a positive opinion about Moldova and the Moldovan citizens. When I return to Italy, I will do my best to make Moldova known there, to encourage and arouse the Italians’ curiosity to visit Moldova when the conditions permit. At the same time, I leave Moldova with a feeling of sadness and also of hope and with wishes for a prosperous future for all the Moldovan citizens, with the possibility of returning for the Moldovans who settled abroad, but want to come back.
- IPN: It’s time for leaving, but also for summing up. Where are now the relations between the Republic of Moldova and the Italian Republic after your four-year term in office?
- Valeria Biagiotti: Definitely, the bilateral relations during these four years developed a lot, except for the last year that generated many difficulties in these relations, and this is my merit and also the authorities’ merit. But this also came as a spontaneous development related to the expanding integration of the Italian and Moldovan population.
The bilateral relations covered many sectors, including the traditional ones we know and also new ones, namely the environment, civil protection, the social sector, the economy, culture and the cooperation between the carabineer troops of Italy and Moldova. Consequently, we can say that the outcome is positive.
- IPN: If we choose particular aspects for a more detailed examination from this general rather vivid and colorful picture of the bilateral relations, which ones would you like to discuss? For instance, which areas of cooperation brought you the greatest satisfaction?
- Valeria Biagiotti: I would mention two areas where the cooperation generated special satisfaction to me. The first is the initiation of the study of the Italian language. During the last few years, we were glad to welcome an Italian lecturer in Chisinau. Owing to this fact, the number of Italian language courses in schools and universities increased. The last of these events was the launch of the Italian language course at the Technical University of Moldova, at the faculties of food technology and textiles and design. I also care a lot about a number of initiatives and projects related to the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World and the Italian Design Day. These events enabled not only to make excellent Italian things, of which we boast globally, known in the Republic of Moldova, but to also strengthen nice and fruitful relations of cooperation at institutional and university levels.
- IPN: To ensure a balance: which of the areas caused dissatisfaction or, eventual, frustrations? Do the diplomats also experience dissatisfaction and frustrations?
- Valeria Biagiotti: Definitely, the diplomats also experience dissatisfaction and frustrations. My frustrations are tied primarily to the pandemic of the last year. We didn’t manage to implement a number of the planned initiatives. Also, the consular sector is another continuous source of disappointment and frustrations, especially due to the difficult cases on which I have worked a lot during my mandate and refer to the international kidnapping of children, minors.
- IPN: How did the pandemic influence our relations? Did the sides do their best for the negative impact to be as small as possible?
- Valeria Biagiotti: The pandemic diminished the commercial exchanges, reduced mobility and, regrettably, the number of connections. A year ago, Chisinau was connected with many cities in Italy through daily flights, but now the number of flights decreased drastically.
The pandemic has been an absolutely new situation for everyone, especially for Italy, which was confronted by the virus among the first. A solution was then needed to maintain a balance between the protection of the health and life of the people and to reduce the negative impact on society and the economy.
I think what is important is for the Moldovans and the Italians to consider how each of us can and do our best to prevent the spread of the virus. Regrettably, no one is safe. That’s why it is important to be responsible and to do everything possible to maintain dancing and obey all the measures taken to stop the infection.
- IPN: How do the Italians who settled in Moldova feel? As far as I see, many of them are businesspeople and the businesspeople sometimes complain about the business environment in Moldova, about Moldovan justice?
- Valeria Biagiotti: Moldova hosts both Italian businesspeople and persons who decided to move here, either they are pensioners or because they have a Moldovan partner, husband or wife. In general, the Italian community is well integrated and its members are glad to promote and make this country known.
The businesspeople hope and want Moldova to be able to ensure a more favorable climate for investment by stepping up the efforts against corruption, for doing the justice sector reform and adopting other reforms that were always encouraged by the European Union, including by signing the Association Agreement.
- IPN: How do you asses the tendencies in the Moldovan media during your tenure? It is a rather general question, but I admit I pursue here a specific goal and I hope you will not treat it as “a conflict of interest”. You and the Embassy of Italy during these years have been consumers of the news flow produced by IPN News Agency. How useful was it to you? To what extend does our newscast reflect the state of affairs in the Moldovan press and society in general?...
- Valeria Biagiotti: I would use this occasion to thank you for the cooperation we have had with your agency during these yeas and I can only confirm that during my term in office, IPN was for me a reference point and a useful instrument for always having an updated picture of what is happening in the Republic of Moldova. This continued when I gained a particular level of competence in the Romanian language and could read myself the articles in the original language, not only those translated into English.
- IPN: Is there something you wanted to do and didn’t manage to do in Moldova during your tenure? Is there something your regret?
- Valeria Biagiotti: As I mentioned earlier, during the last year I was unable to implement a number of projects left for the end of the tenure, owing to the pandemic. These non-implemented projects cover a number of sectors, such as culture, design, the cuisine week and the reception on the Italian National Day, events that enable to promote Italy’s excellence.
- IPN: I think it’s something normal for you to deliver a “farewell” or, perhaps, “see you later” message for Moldova and its people now at the end of your tenure and of the interview...
- Valeria Biagiotti: I would like to heartily thank Moldova, the Moldovans here or in Italy, for their hospitality and for the feeling of affection they showed to me during these years. As I said it on different occasions, I was able to know exceptional, competent, enthusiastic persons who do their job with devotion, regardless of the difficulties, the often limited resources.
I will definitely return to Moldova as soon as possible, when the pandemic situation permits.
As regards my message, it is a message of hope and encouragement. I want to invite everyone to become agents of change, starting from themselves, from the own house, office, village or community, so as to bring about changes and build a better future for us and for the country.
The video variant of the interview with Italy’s Ambassador to Moldova can be seen here.