The value of twinning between municipalities
The friendship between Italy and Germany “is absolutely solid,” said Mattarella. “Twinning between German and Italian municipalities is important because the friendship between national governments is fundamental, but the important thing is the social competition and the twinning is a symbol of popular friendship. When this happens, friendship is absolutely solid. , as in the case of Germany and Italy “, said the President of the Republic. Mattarella stressed that the phenomenon of twinning “is not limited to some sectors but widespread in the territory, and has led to a collaboration that emerged in the pandemic with aid and participation in our suffering. It is a great resource and this has prompted Steinmeier and me to establish an award to underline the importance of this friendship between municipalities which is expressed in various sectors, from culture to the economy. You are the spokesperson for a great network of friendship spread between Germany and Italy thanks to the municipalities “.
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Immediately after arriving at the Royal Palace, the president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said: “I’m very happy to be here. We haven’t seen each other for many months, it was the right time to hug but we can’t” . Mattarella is accompanied by his daughter Laura, Steinmeier by his wife. At the Royal Palace the two presidents had an interview and then listened to the testimonies of some former Italian Covid patients who were housed in German health facilities and medical staff. Then the meeting with some of the mayors of the network of twinning between Italian and German cities, with speeches by the president of Anci Antonio Decaro, the president of the National Association of German municipalities, Ralph Spiegler, and various mayors.
The testimony: “I am a Covid patient, treated like a brother in Germany”
The two presidents listened to the stories and testimonies of a representation of the 44 Italians suffering from coronavirus who were treated in German facilities. The doctors and nurses who assisted them also took part in the meeting. The first to tell his story was Felice Perani, 57, who was hospitalized at Pope John XXIII in Bergamo and who was then transported in a coma to the university clinic in Leipzig: “I woke up after five days, I thought I was kidnapped. They treated me like a brother, like a son. They spoke in German, I didn’t understand but basically they spoke to me with their eyes. Germany was a second mother because it gave me back my life “. Perani was in intensive care for seventy days. A testimony that the German president commented: “I am very pleased and your words honor me”. And Mattarella underlined: “This is a beautiful story”.
Decaro (Anci): “Twinning between municipalities is essential for building Europe”
Sitting in the Hall of the Eight Columns, the two presidents listened to the representatives of the twinned cities (there are 400 twinning agreements in all). “During the emergency we mayors have been guardians of fears but also of the desire to return to the lives of citizens”, said Antonio Decaro, mayor of Bari and president of the National Association of Italian Municipalities, who then referred to the letter that Stenmeier himself had sent to Mattarella. “She wrote: we can only overcome this crisis together, it was the time of great fear and it was essential to remember the value of solidarity. Only by being together now can we also reschedule the recovery. Together we Italian and German mayors have already been so for a long time. twinning were born after 1945 and the repudiation of the war, then there was the need to clear the cities of not only physical rubble and even now we will have to go back to recognizing twinning as a key role in the construction of Europe.