Italy announced it plans to join a European military force that will react rapidly to crises near the continent’s borders – a sign of the new left-leaning government’s warmer ties with the European Union.
“Italy has officially communicated its readiness to join the European Intervention Initiative EI2, providing its particular national expertise in the Mediterranean region security sector,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s office said in a statement.
France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, and Finland are due to take part in the initiative characterised by “political interoperability” and “strategic anticipation”, the statement said.
The announcement followed a visit to Rome by French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday for talks with Conte that sought to turn the page on Italy’s previous eurosceptic coalition government.
EI2 is intended to enable a joint military operation to be swiftly mobilised, to evacuate civilians, or provide aid after a disaster.
The French-led initiative was formed in June 2018 and was proposed the previous year by Macron, who has called for a European army.