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Renzi and the 2017 G7

Giorgia Ponti
G7 Research Group
May 28, 2016

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi was welcomed bright and early at the Ise-Jingu Temple by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on the first day of the 2016 G7 summit in Ise-Shima, Japan. Experienced and charismatic, Renzi has been under much scrutiny as the host of next year's summit, which will be the first one attended by the soon-to-be-elected (or re-elected, in the case of France) presidents of France and the United States. Originally to be held in his hometown of Florence, Renzi recently announced that Sicily would be the host region in 2017.

Situated in southern Italy, Sicily is one of the regions most affected by the recent refugee crisis, particularly Lampedusa. The small island has become the symbol of the crisis, having received almost 200,000 migrants in 2015 alone. As reported by Corriere della Sera, Renzi said his decision to host the summit in Sicily was a moral obligation, honouring the efforts made by workers to welcome the boats overflowing with fleeing migrants. He has proposed Taormina, a small town on Sicily's eastern coast, as the location for the summit itself, scheduled for May 26-27, 2017.

Even though his decision on Sicily is not yet final, the prime minister says that the lack of infrastructure in Florence to accommodate the G7 leaders impedes the historic city from being the successor to Ise-Shima.

Shortly before heading to Japan, Renzi took to Twitter to announce his goals for this year's summit, promising to honour the integrity of all the Italians who are working to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea. The prime minister attended all the activities of the two-day summit but decided to leave without uttering one word on the G7 stage.

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Giorgia Ponti is an analyst with the G7 Research Group. Follow her at @giorgia_ponti.

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