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Italy to struggle to meet NATO 2% defence spending target: Minister

ROME: Italy will struggle to meet a NATO target of spending at least 2 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence by 2028, Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto told national lawmakers on Tuesday (Nov 7).

At a summit in 2014, NATO leaders agreed to move towards spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence within a decade, but Italy’s previous administration led by Mario Draghi postponed the objective by four years.

“We are indeed far from 2 per cent, very far”, Crosetto told the defence and foreign affairs committees of Italy’s two houses of parliament.

“An impossible target for 2024 but, if I am honest with you … difficult for 2028 as well”, he said.

Italy is expected to spend 1.46 per cent of GDP on defence this year, NATO estimates showed in July, while other European members of the alliance, including Poland, Britain, Greece and the Baltic countries, were seen as above target.

Already last June, Crosetto said hitting the 2 per cent spending objective was going to be hard for Italy, unless European Union budget rules were tweaked to give some extra flexibility over investments.

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