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Tajani-Crosetto: the first Foreign Affairs-Defence Roundtable of the 19th legislature

Rome, 3 February 2023.

The first Foreign Affairs-Defence Roundtable of the 19th legislature of the Italian Republic got underway today in Rome, with the meeting between the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani, and the Italian Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto. The initiative aims to explore issues of common interest and which require coordinated and joint action by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI).

In the wake of the positive outcome of the visit of the two Ministers to Serbia and Kosovo, which reaffirmed Italy’s commitment to the stabilisation of the Western Balkans, this meeting was scheduled to encourage the achievement of joint results, increase coordination between the two Ministries, and face the new challenges with a unified and continuous perspective.

Minister Tajani stated that: “In a current European context marked by crisis and in light of its effects in other strategic areas for Italian national security – from the situation in Ukraine to the Balkans and the Mediterranean, from sub-Saharan Africa to the Indo-Pacific area – close coordination and exchange of information between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence is essential. We must increase our ability to influence political-military decision-making processes in international fora. The Foreign Affairs-Defence Roundtable is a fundamental tool to ensure unified and coherent action by Italy”.

Minister Crosetto, highlighting the importance of today’s roundtable, stated that “Defence and Foreign Affairs must act abroad together and in the interest of Italy,” and that “The situation we face now is full of challenges. This calls for immediate, pragmatic and, above all, shared solutions, and this roundtable is an essential tool for improving coordination and making the actions of the two Ministries more effective”. Minister Crosetto also added that “The Ministry of Defence and the MAECI have the task of consolidating Italy’s role. This is a road that the Government and President Meloni are pursuing together, also by building solid relations with countries that are crucial in various sectors. I am referring, for example, to the differentiation of energy supplies, but also to security and immigration, which I firmly believe requires a 20-30-year strategic approach.”

The main topics of discussion were: the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, the East and South sides of the Atlantic Alliance, European Defence, support for Kiev, the commitment to support peace on the European continent, the Italian strategy in Africa, the security of the “Enlarged Mediterranean” and the “2023 International Mission Resolution”.

Today’s meeting was also a useful opportunity to discuss the current crises involving the new cyber and space domains and cognitive warfare, which uses disinformation campaigns spreading fake news.

The Italian Armed Forces are currently involved in 40 operations (including 37 international operations in 24 nations) with over 11,000 units deployed, over 6,000 in international operations under NATO, the UN and the EU: from the Balkans to Iraq, the Mediterranean and Lebanon.