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Minister Tonin attends the European Defence Agency conference

On 7th December, Minister of Defence Matej Tonin attended the annual conference of the European Defence Agency where innovations in European defence were at the forefront of the talks. Minister Tonin participated in the panel Defence Innovation - A Strategic Imperative for the EU?

Conference participants were first addressed by Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Jiři Šedivý, Head of the European Defence Agency, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borell Fontelles, and the President of the European Council Charles Michel.

In his address, Minister Matej Tonin emphasized the importance of defence innovations for the development of strategic and technological sovereignty. We have been witnessing rapid technological development, and new areas such as cybernetics and artificial intelligence have been blurring the line between the civilian and defence spheres, Tonin pointed out. The creation of the EU's Defence Technological and Industrial Base is essential for strategic autonomy and credibility within the common security and defence policy.

In his address, Minister Tonin also emphasized the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises, which can drive progress in the field of innovation. "Small and medium-sized enterprises are important because they can adapt quickly to new innovative ideas," Tonin said, adding that good cooperation with the civilian sphere not only has an impact on defence, but also positively impacts the economy.

When answering the question of how Slovenia and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia supported defence innovations, the Minister explained that Slovenia did not have special defence development institutes, which directs it into good cooperation with the civilian sphere and the economy. Tonin also emphasized the importance of the Slovenian defence industry cluster and many companies with innovative products (C-astral, Pipistel, Skylabs etc.).

At this year's annual conference, in addition to the Slovenian Minister of Defence, Matej Tonin, the European Defence Agency hosted Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder and Polish Deputy Defence Minister Marcin Ociepo. The conference was held in a hybrid format, with Minister Tonin participating via teleconference.

Minister Tonin attends the European Defence Agency conference | Author Monika Sušanj, MORS