July 12, 2018 / 12:57 PM / 8 days ago

Italy has pledged no new spending on military: Prime Minister

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday he had made no promises to increase Italy’s defense spending after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had won pledges from NATO allies to boost military expenditure.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

“Italy inherited spending commitments to NATO, commitments that we did not change, so no increase in spending,” Conte told reporters after a NATO meeting in Brussels. “As far as we’re concerned, today we did not decide to offer extra contributions with respect to what was decided some time ago.”

Italy currently spends around 1 percent of its annual economic output on defense, while North Atlantic Treaty Organization members are supposed to set aside 2 percent of annual output for the military.

Conte also said he would proposed to European Union partners that defense spending be excluded from budget deficit calculations.

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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