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Recent Developments in Italy's Security and Defence Policy


Three main components have characterised the Renzi government’s 2014-2016 security and defence policy. The first is the publication of a White Paper for International Security and Defence outlining a politico-strategic stance on the development of the military and its use to Italian foreign and defence policy ends. The second is the Armed Forces’ continued and broad engagement on crisis management operations in the Euro-Mediterranean region, with a shift of resources from Afghanistan – where NATO has reduced its military presence – to Iraq within the framework of international community operations aimed at countering the so-called Islamic State. This military commitment mirrors the Renzi government’s political effort to increase NATO and EU attention to the security of the Mediterranean region. After the UK referendum, Italy has also enhanced its stance in favour of greater European cooperation and integration in the defence sector. Thirdly, along the blurred boundary between external and internal security, it is essential to recall the Navy’s lead of national and EU maritime operations in the Mediterranean, for search and rescue of imperilled migrants at sea and to counter people smugglers, particularly on the routes between the Libyan and Italian coasts.

Translated and updated version of “La politica di sicurezza e difesa”, published as chapter 2 in Ettore Greco and Natalino Ronzitti (eds.), Rapporto sulla politica estera italiana: il governo Renzi. Edizione 2016, Roma, Nuova Cultura, July 2016, p. 47-55 (Quaderni IAI 17).

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