Italy seeks changes to NATO defense spending rules – POLITICO

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Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta | Stringer/AFP via Getty Images



Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta called Monday for NATO’s national budget spending rules to be amended to include cyber security and infrastructure costs.

Trenta, a member of the ruling Five Star coalition group, said that NATO guidelines requiring member countries to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense should also include non-military investments, as Italy sets out to spend more on social welfare, the Financial Times reported.

“There are parts of our spending that are related to defense but are not in the defense budget,” Trenta told the newspaper ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday.

“Spending money to develop cyber security defenses should count the same as spending money to buy tanks […] I am not saying we should not spend money, but that we should spend money on things that were not previously considered as defense spending,” she said.

A lukewarm response to Trenta’s comments is expected from the Trump administration, which calls for NATO members to increase their defense budgets to meet the 2 percent target.

In 2018, 1.15 percent of Italy’s GDP was spent on defense, according to NATO’s estimates, ranking the country as the seventh lowest…

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