Common EU defence is “complementary” to NATO. On Thursday, during her end-of-year presser, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated that plans for a shared European defence and the Atlantic Alliance are far from contradictory. In fact, she noted, the two “can be easily married” – and it would be “stupid to overlap them.”
- “The Europe that can give better solutions is a confederal Europe. On the big issues it is easier to find common solutions, and the defence issue is one of them,” she said, noting the matter must be fleshed out in a “less embryonic” manner and “subject to the necessity and usefulness of the Atlantic Pact.”
More EU in NATO. PM Meloni went on to highlight the need for “a more organised European presence” within the Atlantic Alliance, with the EU acting as one of the two key columns – the other one being the United States. That’s also because, “obviously […] interests are not always perfectly overlapping”, even from a “trivially geographic” point of view.
Upping the budget. The Italian government led by PM Meloni looks set to continue down the path set by its predecessor – which entails increasing the defence budget to the NATO-aligned target of 2% of GDP by 2028. The Ministry of Defence’s planning document project that Rome will reach the current NATO average of 1.64% by 2024.
- Also, Italy earmarked 27% of its 2023 defence budget for investments (a 30% year-on-year increase) and plans to stay the course for the next few years, as noted by War on the Rocks.
- Investments are focussed on a quality-centred approach, prioritising technologically superior projects and high-end capabilities – chief among which is the Global Combat Air Programme, aka Tempest, the next-gen fighter jet to be jointly developed with London and Tokyo.