Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from the Italian Embassy

  1.  Traditionally, the Italian Consular network has been largely related to the consistency and needs of our communities abroad. Wales was for a long period of time a destination of choice for many Italian migrants, and a professional consul was therefore appointed in Cardiff until 1978. The Consulate was also busy in those times dealing with maritime transport duties related to the important flow of coal exports towards Italy.

  2.  Taking into account the variations of migratory trends and the budgetary constraints, in 1978 an Honorary Vice Consul was appointed, reporting to the Consul General in London. In fact, Italy has by now full consular posts in London (about 90,000 Italian residents), Manchester (about 30,000), Edinburgh (10,000) and Bedford (20,000); about 20 Honorary Consuls are appointed in other towns and cities including Belfast and Cardiff (the Italian residents in Wales are now about 3,000).

  In assessing the Italian presence in Wales, you should however also consider that Italy is sending six teachers and a headmaster to teach Italian language in Welsh Schools as well as a lecturer to Cardiff University; furthermore, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Britain is opening an outpost in Cardiff.

  3.  Looking a future perspectives, I would like to stress that restructuring the consular network abroad is, for Italy as for any other Country, a permanent "work in progress". Nowadays, the Italian Foreign Ministry, while always paying due attention to the needs of our communities, takes into account a wider range of elements, including trade patterns and investment opportunities, when deciding if it is appropriate to open (or close) consular posts.

  I am sure that the Italian Authorities will be prepared to consider favourably an upgrading of the existing Consulate in Cardiff, when reassessing the Italian consular network abroad: I will personally recommend it, considering also the most recent institutional developments. Naturally, a positive decision will be influenced also by financial consideration, because, in the last resort, it is the limited budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that makes it necessary to limit the number of consular offices in Europe, inline with a policy followed by all major European Countries. In fact, also the number of British Consulates in Italy has been greatly reduced, in the past few years.

  I avail myself of this opportunity to convey my sincerest regards.

Luigi Amaduzzi

21 December 2000

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