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Italy: Tilting towards “security first”


The preference of the governing political party or coalition has significant impact on Italy’s approach to China. The last two governments, that of PM Mario Draghi and of PM Giorgia Meloni have placed stronger attention to Italy’s security interests and to alignment with European and Transatlantic allies, without, however, losing sight of the opportunities that a stable diplomatic and economic relationship with China brings to Italy. A Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2019 made Italy the first G7 country to subscribe to the Belt and Road Initiative. Four years later, the diplomatic grand gesture mostly empty of actual gains for Italy is back on the Italian government’s table who must decide whether to renew the MoU by the end of 2023. And the government appears keener not to renew it, but not everyone agrees with this approach. Despite such an important diplomatic move, China is not a pressing matter for Italy’s foreign policy.

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