Rome, Oct. 15 (askanews) – “Italy strongly supports the strengthening of the European security and defense policy, in line with the ambition of a more markedly geopolitical Europe. A necessary and complementary strengthening to NATO, an essential pillar of our collective defense” . Thus the Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini during the bilateral meeting with the Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia Matej Tonin, a country that in the second half of 2021 will hold the Presidency of the EU Council. Bilateral cooperation in the field of Defense, coordination and harmonization of NATO and European Union initiatives, industrial cooperation, stability of the Balkan region, defense commitment for the Covid-19 emergency, these are the main themes at the center of the long and cordial meeting, which took place this morning in Rome at the Officers Club of the Pius IX Army. “The relations between Italy and Slovenia are profound to reaffirm our common commitment within NATO and the European Union” declared Minister Guerini. “Italy and Slovenia share the same vision on the attention that the Atlantic Alliance and the European Union must have towards the southern front, a sector of great instability and decisive for our security”, said Guerini, addressing Minister Tonin, sharing the strategic importance of the Mediterranean area and, in this sense, the opportunity to strengthen Operation Irini. “Slovenia is an important player in missions and operations both within NATO and the European Union and provides a significant contribution in various scenarios both in the Western Balkans and in other realities such as Afghanistan and Lebanon” continued the Minister during the bilateral meeting, underlining the appreciation of Italy for the work carried out in the various international theaters where the Italian and Slovenian contingents work side by side with extremely positive results. The Minister also reiterated Italy’s desire to maintain an active role in the Western Balkans in view of the fundamental importance of the stability of the region. Strong cooperation in the field of defense industry and the mutual desire to increase it reaffirmed during the interview. From Minister Tonin, thanks went to Italy for all the cooperation activities underway in the defense sector, including the defense of airspace. Guerini assured his colleague full availability to support training and training programs for the Armed Forces in the land, sea and air fields.