Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has stood by her government’s plan to increase military spending, insisting it is the price that must be paid to ensure freedom.
Reporting to the Senate on Tuesday ahead of this week’s EU summit, the Italian premier made no bones about increasing the country’s defense budget.
“We have never made any secret of wanting to increase allocations for military spending, as previous governments did, perhaps secretly, without owning up to it,” she told fellow lawmakers.
“We do own up to it, as we are convinced that respecting the commitments (to military spending) is vital to defending the national interest. Freedom has a price,” she added.
The conservative prime minister suggested that the increase in defense spending would help secure the country’s sovereignty, telling the Italian upper chamber that if Italy cannot defend itself, “someone will do it for us, but they will not do it for free, they will impose their interests.”
She also reiterated her government’s ongoing support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia and vowed to continue backing Western sanctions against Russia. Meloni said that Italy would not settle for just any peace agreement, but only one that was just for Ukraine.
“The pressure on Moscow is fundamental on a geopolitical and diplomatic level to ensure the respect of international law and to create the conditions for negotiations to reach a just peace.
“Conditions which, so far, have not come about but which we are still pursuing every day with tenacity,” she added.