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Italy not planning to boost military spending - Conte

Italy not planning to boost military spending - Conte

Bloomberg photo by Marlene Awaad

Italy's government has not agreed to an increase in military spending, Italy's populist premier Giuseppe Conte said after a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday.

We have not altered our spending commitments," Conte told a press conference.

"We have not offered to up our contribution from what we have budgeted for," he said, contradicting claims by US president Donald Trump to have convinced Nato allies at the summit to "substantially" raise their defence budgets.

Unconfirmed reports suggested Trump had threatened to go it alone if other nations did not meet the alliance's target of 2 percent of GDP by 2024, agreed by its members at a Nato summit in Wales four years ago.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron also made it clear on Thursday they had not signed up to anything more than what was agreed in 2014.

Macron added that he was unconvinced by Trump's proposal that Nato members ultimately increase their military spending to 4 percent of GDP.

Italy spent 1.12 percent of its GDP on defence in 2017, while Germany spent 1.24 percent. France 1.79 percent and the US 3.57 percent according to Nato.