Italy minister says defense spending set to fall further next year

ROME (Reuters) - Italian defense spending will come in at just 1.15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year and will fall further in 2019, Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanese said on Thursday, undercutting U.S. efforts to boost military budgets.

U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month that other members of the NATO military alliance had promised big spending pledges after warning that Washington could withdraw its support for the partnership if Europe didn’t do more.

Italian Defence minister Elisabetta Trenta recently said in an interview to Defence News that she had told U.S. national security adviser John Bolton that Italy aims to reach NATO’s defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; writing by Crispian Balmer; editing by Francesco Guarascio