Letta says Expo a metaphor for Italy's restoration
France to highlight regional foods during Milan Expo 201520 September, 12:19
(ANSA) - Milan, September 20 - The hard work now underway to lay the foundations of Milan Expo 2015 is something of a metaphor for the transformation occurring across Italy, says Premier Enrico Letta.
During a recent visit to the Expo construction site, Letta said he viewed the efforts to create a memorable world's fair as being similar to work underway across Italy to restructure the economy, improve productivity, and bring the country out of its worst recession since the Second World War.
Delays and divisions may occur, said Letta, but the work continues – and the same can be said for the political situation, where the country's fragile coalition government is somehow holding itself together.
And what matters is not only how things look, but whether they function effectively, he added.
"The goal is not to only make a good image, but to create jobs and grow the country," said Letta, who intends to use upcoming meetings in New York as an opportunity to promote Italy and Milan's Expo with foreign heads of states.
Those meetings are expected to take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the end of September.
"Expo is an opportunity to give a positive image of Italy, and God knows how much Italy needs to make a positive impression," concluded Letta, who wore a protective hard hat during his tour of the construction site. At present, about 700 workers are employed in various projects constructing the Milan Expo site where more than 132 countries will be establishing their pavilions for the world's fair that will open on May 1, 2015 and continue until the end of October of that year.
The massive project is expected to attract more than 20 million visitors and to be a massive money spinner for the city known as Italy's business capital.
Preparations on a 1.1-million-square-meter site began years ago as hosting such an international event is an enormous undertaking.
Expo's top official noted that the world's fair in 2015 will bring together as many as 100 heads of states and about 700 senior government ministers and officials, along with Italian leaders, over the course of the entire event.
Such numbers and collaboration has likely not been seen since Italy's unification more than 100 years ago, noted the Commissioner of Expo, Giuseppe Sala, who toured the construction site with the premier.
"Expo is not the panacea for all ills, but it is an extraordinary opportunity," for diplomacy and for presenting Italy to the world, Sala said recently. "We must offer our best face".
Sala noted that by the end of this year, many of the participating countries will begin their own on-site work.
That will include France, which earlier this month signed its participation contract for Expo in a ceremony at France's embassy in Rome located in the Palazzo Farnese.
The French pavilion, to be built on an exhibition space of almost 3,600 square meters, will be a wooden structure that can be removed and reused after Expo, officials say. The design is inspired by the "Baltard" style, so named for the 19th century architect who designed the famous Les Halles central market of Paris, and will encourage the smart and sustainable use of energy, with a particular emphasis on waste recycling and wastewater management.
That dovetails with Milan Expo's theme: "Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life", which centres on fighting famine and malnutrition worldwide through sustainable and healthy development, global cooperation, and new technology.
France intends to highlight such topics as how science and technology can contribute to self-sufficiency in food, as well as balancing the need for food production with preservation of the planet's natural resources.
The French pavilion will also exhibit traditional dishes and demonstrate food production in various regions of the country, in order to present the "pleasure" dimension of food.