Since the British referendum to exit the EU, the question of a common European defence has regained vigour. Italy, which will be the third largest defence spender in the EU after Brexit, has an important role to play in this debate. In fact, well before the referendum and the re-launch of the European defence agenda, the Italian Ministry of Defence had conducted an in-depth exercise in strategic thinking and planning, culminated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence. The document codifies the Italian strategy for the use and the development of armed forces, in the European, transatlantic and Mediterranean frameworks. It also addresses important challenges for the national defence apparatus, ranging from personnel reorganization to changes to internal governance. The reform agenda has moved ahead slowly, however, with Italy lagging behind its White Paper’s transformative ambitions.
Paper prepared by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) on behalf of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation-Rome Office, July 2017. See also: The Italian White Paper on Defence. Common Ground with Germany?, Berlin, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, November 2017, 7 p. (International policy analysis), ISBN 978-3-95861-981-4.
1. Relevance of the document
2. A four-level reform
2.1 Governance reform
2.2 Restructuring the operational model
2.3 Reshaping personnel
2.4 Changing procurement practices
3. The Euro–Atlantic framework
3.1 The European defence industry
3.2 The Mediterranean
4. Contact and conflict points with the German White Paper
5. Delays in implementing the Italian White Paper