|ILO Director-General Guy Ryder with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta|
At a meeting at the Quirinal Palace, Ryder and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano talked about the youth unemployment situation affecting the country, especially in the South. They both warned that youth unemployment poses a major challenge to democracy and social cohesion.
Ryder also stressed the ILO’s strengthened focus on migration policies: “Migrants are not factors of production; they are persons with rights. International organizations should engage more decisively in order to protect their rights,” he said.
Ryder offered the ILO’s support and collaboration on migration and trafficking issues, as the Italian government gears to take over the EU Presidency in the second half of 2014.
He welcomed the recent ratifications by Italy of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and the ILO’s Domestic Workers Convention, 2011. Italy ranks third among ILO Members in terms of number of ratified Conventions (112).
Later in the day, Ryder met with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and offered his condolences to the victims of the cyclone that hit Sardinia on Monday.
Ryder also expressed his appreciation for the Government’s commitment to job creation, and for the support that Labour Minister, Enrico Giovannini, has lent to the European Youth Guarantee.
The ILO Director-General praised the Prime Minister for his initiative to bring together prime ministers and labour ministers at the EU level to address social and occupational issues in a more decisive and effective manner.
He also asked the Prime Minister to exercise his influence at the international level to give decent work an explicit place in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Ryder and Letta agreed that, despite the difficult general situation, social dialogue should be the key instrument to exit the crisis in a concerted and collaborative manner, involving all social partners.
The ILO Director-General met with several cabinet ministers during the day, including Cécile Kyenge, Minister for Integration and Emma Bonino, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Bonino confirmed Italy’s support for the ILO reform process and the important role of the ILO’s International Training Centre in Turin.
Ryder is in Italy for a three day mission to the Vatican and Rome and already met with Pope Francis on Monday.
On Wednesday, the ILO head will meet with the President of the Italian employers’ confederation (CONFINDUSTRIA), Mr. Giorgio Squinzi, and trade union representatives, including CGIL Secretary General Ms. Susanna Camusso, CISL Secretary General, Mr. Raffaele Bonanni, and UIL Secretary General, Mr. Luigi Angeletti.