Italy’s Undersecretary of State, Giorgio Silli, carried out an elaborate mission to Australia from 24 to 30 November. It was the first visit by a member of the Italian Government since 2017, and included stops in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. The primary objective of the visit was to revive political dialogue in the many areas of collaboration between the two countries.
The 15 institutional meetings on the agenda, held both at federal and state level, focused on the main multilateral issues, also in view of the upcoming Italian Presidency of the G7, as well as regional and global issues, from energy transition and the fight against climate change to geostrategic balance in the Indo-Pacific.
The talks also centred on the different areas of bilateral cooperation, starting from the economic-commercial one, with a focus on the defence industry, as well as energy and infrastructure cooperation. In this regard, several visits to Italian industrial plants and strategic shipyards were conducted, and the role of the Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement in strengthening business opportunities between the two countries was made evident.
Academic and scientific cooperation emerged as a qualifying area of bilateral relations, with future collaborations between universities and museums taking centre stage.
The very large Italian community, considered the lynchpin of Australia’s multicultural identity, was the mission’s guiding thread. Its value and dynamism characterised the public events attended by the Undersecretary in Sydney and Melbourne. The Italian community was also at the centre of dedicated meetings held in the three cities with the CGIE and COMITES representative bodies, as well as of meetings with political personalities of Italian origin who are well integrated in the institutional leadership and in the layers of Australian civil society.
The importance of further strengthening cultural initiatives and the promotion of the Italian language in the country, which is a real driving force of the bilateral relationship, emerged on more than one occasion.
The warm welcome extended to Undersecretary Silli by the Australian authorities and the Italian and Italian-speaking community testified to the deep friendship, shared views and values, as well as the richness of the relations between the two countries. These can be solid bases for expanding the scope of collaboration, thus giving further impetus to the relationship between Italy and Australia.