On Thursday, 7 October Deputy State Secretary for Defence Policy Dr. Gergely Németh received Major General Giovanni Maria Iannucci, Policy Director, Italian Defence General Staff in Budapest. After the meeting, the major general received the Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit from Defence State Secretary István Szabó.
At the meeting, the Hungarian and Italian sides discussed the already existing and future possibilities for defence policy cooperation between Hungary and Italy, laying great emphasis on the long-standing relations of the two countries in the Alliance.
Speaking about the relationship of the two nations, Major General Giovanni Maria Iannucci told us that “the two countries are linked with very close ties in the fields of historical and cultural heritage. We must lay emphasis on making sure that our cooperation is a beginning of something instead of an endpoint. The surrounding world we live in is getting more unpredictable and presents more and more threats that are increasingly difficult to respond to and address. I think that the time has come for the two countries to tackle the challenges jointly, shoulder to shoulder, as we now have the opportunities and capabilities for that.
In recognition of his role in developing Hungarian–Italian defence policy and military-to-military relations, and his assistance with coordinating Hungary’s and NATO’s goals, President of Hungary János Áder conferred the Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit on Major General Giovanni Maria Iannucci. Defence State Secretary István Szabó presented the decoration to the Italian defence policy director.
In his speech, besides the tasks executed jointly over a decades-long period, the defence state secretary emphasized the importance of future forms of cooperation. “Italy is our ally, a key NATO member country, and its stance on the issues of terrorism and migration posing threats from the south is similar to ours. This is why it is important to us to carry out our tasks in close cooperation with Italy in the Western Balkans for the security of the region, and the Hungarian leadership taking over the COMKFOR position is also closely cooperating with our Italian colleagues”.
Also present at the award ceremony were, among others, Lieutenant General Zoltán Mihócza, Chief of Staff, Hungarian Defence Forces Command, Prof. Dr. Lajos Pintér, advisor to the defence state secretary, Colonel Albert Gróf, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Defence Department for International Cooperation and Massimo Belligotti from the staff of the Italian Embassy in Budapest.