Italy's Salvini Defends F-35 Orders As Necessary for Country (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published March 14, 2019)
By Steve Scherer, Giuseppe Fonte
ROME --- Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Thursday defended the country’s plans to buy 90 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, following recent media reports suggesting that the order would be slashed back.

“Any effort to slow or review (purchases of the F-35) I would consider harmful” for the country, Salvini told reporters in Rome.

The comments by Salvini, who leads the ruling far-right League party, follow unsourced reports at the weekend in the Italian media saying Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta was planning to slash the F-35 orders by two-thirds.

Trenta is from the populist 5-Star Movement, the League’s governing partner. 5-Star has always been critical of the F-35 purchases, saying the money could be better spent on welfare or to boost the economy, now in its third recession in a decade.

Last July, Trenta announced she was reviewing the F-35 orders, while noting that the penalties for scrapping the orders might be more costly than maintaining them.

After Salvini’s comments, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is not a member of either party, met with Trenta to discuss the F-35. (end of excerpt)


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Note from the President of the Council of Ministers
(Source: Office of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: issued March 14, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The meeting between President of the Council [Giuseppe] Conte and Minister of Defense [Elisabetta] Trenta has just ended. It was an opportunity for various updates regarding defense issues.

In particular, the interview also covered the theme of the F-35s. The sums due for completed orders have already been transferred to the United States and payments will be made in the coming days.

In the coming months, all defense components, under the coordination of Minister Trenta, will be called upon to review the specific defensive needs of Italy, in order to ensure that the next orders are effectively commensurate with our defense strategies, with the goal of guaranteeing maximum effectiveness and operational effectiveness in accordance with the Euro-Atlantic position of our country.

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