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NATO Summit: the Italian Perspective

Italy is expected to bring up the departure of its troops from Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago, say Italian government officials.

“We need to do more using less forces,” on Saturday said Alesandro Motta, consul general of Italy in an interview in Italian.

One of the key issues for the Italian delegation at the Summit will be a strategic and progressive pull out of NATO troops from Afghanistan by 2014 and the reorganization of

Alessandro Motto, Consul General of Italy (Photo by Valeria Fanelli)

military expenses, said Motta.

Recently elected Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is leading the Italian delegation in the NATO Summit.

Motta said that by using new technologies and modern tools, NATO will try to reduce its military expenses. The goal of this ‘smart defense’ will be to keep an efficient military system by spending less money, he explained.

“This issue has a big economic impact to country members,” he said. “We need to integrate the forces that each country has to offer, so that we can build an efficient and smart defense organism, reducing the budget.”

Federica Gramegna, author and journalist of European affairs in Bruxelles, said one of NATO’s goals is to strengthen the military cooperation between the United States and the European Union and try to involve Europe in U.S. projects to ensure the main values of the Atlantic partnership.

“European countries must show concretely how they want to support a democratic transition in Afghanistan,” she said in telephone and e-mail conversations.

The Italian consul said that Italy will support allied countries in all those decisions that will bring about an economic stability in the future for Afghanistan.

“The new government in Italy, established in November 2011, had a very clear political mission: Reduce the international speculations of the country and recover the economy,” Motta said.

Italy is trying to get out of the recession by adopting emergency measures that will reduce public expenses, create new jobs and liberalize services, he said.

“The recovery of Italian economy is fundamental for the European Union’s stability. Consequently, this becomes important for the economic relations between Europe and the U.S.,” Motta said.

The European leaders are all trying to find ways to strengthen their economies.

“After the last elections in France, Greece and Germany, people and politicians in the E.U. are asking for strong measures,” Gramegna said. “Obama is worried about the possibility that Greece would leave the Eurozone. The ‘domino effect’ could be really dangerous not only for Europeans, but also for American markets.”

Richard Longworth, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said in an interview that NATO links Europe and the United States in a number of ways.

“The west Europeans remain our closest allies, and NATO is where we all get together and talk,” he said.

Protesters organizing the march for Sunday’s summit said they don’t want the American government to spend more money on military power.

Andy Thayer, lead activist of the Coalition Against NATO / G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8), said America spent too much money financing wars and did not use those resources on people’s needs like education, housing and health care.

“You can’t live in a country that spends as much on its military than the rest of the world and at the same time has raised the costs of higher education,” he said. “What is the role of American military in the world?”

NATO’s alliance consists of 28 member countries. Only five of them are not members of the European Union.

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