On the occasion of Festa della Repubblica, the National Day of Italy, celebrated on 2 June, the Ambassador of Italy to Slovenia H.E. Paolo Trichilo hosted a reception at the National Museum of Slovenia. The event also marked the inauguration of the exhibition “ROMA AETERNA. Masterpieces of Roman sculpture from the Dino and Ernesta Santarelli Foundation”.
During the reception in the National Museum, guests from the diplomatic, political, business and culture communities of Slovenia had the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of world-famous Italian wines and other treats the country is known for.
Republic Day, also known as Festa della Repubblica in Italian (Festival of the Republic), is a national holiday in Italy on June 2 each year. It celebrates the day when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in 1946 so their country could become a republic.
H.E. Paolo Trichilo, Ambassador of Italy to Slovenia said in his opening speech, in three languages, „Facts and numbers are more important than any other consideration and testify to an intense and fruitful relationship, although the current reality of relations between Italy and Slovenia sometimes seems to be obscured by the ghosts of the last century. In doing so, I will not follow an order of priority, because in a 360-degree relationship like the one that involves our two countries it is not possible to consider one sector more important than the other and all the elements are essential to provide a general overview. For example, I could start by mentioning the statistics that, for years, Italians have been the first tourists in Slovenia. This is a fact that does not have a purely monetary value, because in its depth it testifies appreciation, curiosity and interest for this territory, its nature, culture and history. We cannot even underestimate the intensity of the economic relationship, with a 8.5 billion euros record of commercial interchange in 2018, thanks to which Italy is the second trading partner of Slovenia,“ Ambassador said.
H.E. Paolo Trichilo, Ambassador of Italy to Slovenia and H.E. Tomaz Kavcic Honorary Consul of Serbia in Slovenia with his wife Flavia Furios
INTERVENTION BY H.E. PAOLO TRICHILO, AMBASSADOR OF ITALY IN SLOVENIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC
Ljubljana, 3 June 2019
As in previous years I will use three languages for my speech: Slovenian, as a sign of respect and sympathy for the State to which I am honoured to represent my country; Italian, the fourth most studied language in the world and a language with a special status in Slovenia; English as international lingua franca. Three languages – also as a symbol of the multiculturality and diversity of our common European homeland and citizenship in addition to the national ones.
As always, I prefer to focus my speech on my area of competence, namely the bilateral relationship between Italy and Slovenia, two neighbouring and friendly countries, avoiding rhetoric as much as possible. Facts and numbers are more important than any other consideration and testify to an intense and fruitful relationship, although the current reality of relations between Italy and Slovenia sometimes seems to be obscured by the ghosts of the last century.
In doing so, I will not follow an order of priority, because in a 360-degree relationship like the one that involves our two countries it is not possible to consider one sector more important than the other and all the elements are essential to provide a general overview.
For example, I could start by mentioning the statistics that, for years, Italians have been the first tourists in Slovenia. This is a fact that does not have a purely monetary value, because in its depth it testifies appreciation, curiosity and interest for this territory, its nature, culture and history.
We cannot even underestimate the intensity of the economic relationship, with a 8.5 billion euros record of commercial interchange in 2018, thanks to which Italy is the second trading partner of Slovenia, as well as a privileged investment partner. In this context the circular economy plays a growing role, as demonstrated by the ongoing experience in Novo Mesto, and now also in Ljubljana, as highlighted in my intervention at the Circular Change Conference in Maribor.
Very significant progress has also been made in the fields of science, technology and innovation, as highlighted by the Research Day carried out in the presence of the Minister for Education, Jernej Pikalo – that I thank wholeheartedly for his presence today – in Vipava, a town that also reminds us the genius of Leonardo da Vinci on the 500th anniversary of his death; the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fields of high performance computing; the preparatory conference on ESOF 2020 organized in Ljubljana; the signing of the contract between Arianespace and Science.Si for the first launch of Slovenian satellites; the 7th edition of the Italian Business Forum at the Jožef Stefan Institute dedicated to the theme of innovation and creativity.
The success of the conference “Italy and Slovenia, partners in investment and innovation” held last February at the headquarters of the Italian Trade Agency in Rome confirms all the above, as well as the programs launched in the start-up sector, and the Italian participation in the PODIM Conference in Maribor last week.
Let me also emphasize how fruitful the cultural relationship is. While in a few 2 Design Triennial; of the Venice Biennale; of the Italian Language Week, Italian Cuisine Week, Italian Film Week at the Ljubljana Kinoteka, Italian Culture Week at the Ljubljana Municipal Library / Mestna knjižnica Ljubljana. Not forgetting other pop culture initiatives, such as the exhibition on Alan Ford inaugurated last week at the National Gallery, and the participation in the MENT rock festival at Kino Šiška.
Could we forget such an important area as military and security? On the occasion of the celebrations for Slovenia’s 15 years in NATO, Defence Minister Erjavec quoted the defense of airspace entrusted to Allies as an example of the advantages, including economic ones, of the participation in the Alliance. I do not need to remind here that in the case of Slovenia the responsibility is performed by Italy. Furthermore I have attended in these months two NATO exercises in Cerklje ob Krki, Adriatic Strike and Immediate Response, to which the Italian Armed Forces have also contributed; I had the honour of handing over the diplomas of the Italian Minister of Defence to Slovenian soldiers for their excellent contribution to the peace keeping missions in Kosovo and Lebanon.
I also would like to mention two more examples. The first is the opening last March of the NATO Centre of Excellence in Cesano, near Rome, within the Security Force Assistance; Italy, Slovenia and Albania are chefs-de-file in this project that will contribute also to the Defence Cooperation Initiative. The second is the Concept Development Conference held in Italy last week by the NATO Centre of Excellence on Mountain Warfare based in Polče. In addition, our Police Forces cooperate on an ongoing basis and in an excellent manner to ensure the safety of citizens of both countries; it is also known that initiatives are underway to further strengthen cooperation to deal with common challenges for the protection of the Schengen zone.
Finally, I would like to mention the events of public diplomacy aimed at young people in which I took part: at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana, the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Salient Youth Conference; at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana, the seminar on the rights of the child on the 30th anniversary of the relevant Convention, with the awarding of prizes to students for the best works – in this context I particularly thank the Foreign Minister Miro Cerar for his much appreciated participation; at the Young Bled Strategic Forum the panel dedicated to Youth and Security in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the OSCE.
This dense network of collaborations could not be realized without the excellent collaboration with Slovenian institutions, companies and associations, a special thanks to the Foreign Ministry and a greeting to the Secretary of State Božič.
As I thank the staff of the Italian Embassy, together with that of the Institute of Culture, the ICE Office and the Consulate General in Capodistria responsible for the region of the Littoral.
About this region, I would like to salute with pride and effect the Italian minority in Slovenia– thank you for your participation Honorable Felice Žiža– an element of wealth in this country and a link between our States, specularly to what happens with the Slovenian minority in Italy. All in a framework of increasing cross-border cooperation, in which a leading role is played by the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, whose President was on an official visit to Ljubljana last January.
I thank the President of the Regional Council Piero Mauro Zanin and the Regional Councillor Pierpaolo Roberti for their presence. A mention also deserves the ongoing collaboration in the European Territorial Cooperation Group between Gorizia, Nova Gorica and Šempeter Vrtojba, the ongoing projects for the Collio-Brda area, as well as the partnership between Nova Gorica and Gorizia for the nomination as European Capital of Culture in 2025.
In this context, I would like to acknowledge the important role played by Hon. Matjaz Nemec, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Slovenian Parliament, whom I thank for his presence and for his kind availability to make a speech.
To conclude, I would like to thank my wife Laura for the constant support, the National Museum as the host of the event, for whose catering a plastic-free solution has been provided, and the Italian companies for their contribution to today’s ceremony and exhibition.