The UK and Italy have signed a joint statement of intent to strengthen their bilateral defence cooperation, particularly in the space and cyber domains.

The statement was signed between British Defence Minister Ben Wallace and his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto during a Foreign Ministerial – Defence (2+2) Italy-UK summit in Rome on 9 February.

During the event, the two officials discussed the scope of bolstering collaboration between the nations’ military forces and further developing shared capabilities to minimise cost.

The two Nato countries have committed to work closely to provide military assistance and support to Ukraine. The two officials also discussed Libya’s security situation and ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans.

This initial statement of intent between the UK and Italy was first signed in 2018 to strengthen bilateral security and defence.

Crosetto said: “The strategic partnership between Rome and London is the right path to follow to act effectively in complex international scenario determined by this historical moment we are experiencing.”

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The latest signing comes after Italy confirmed its participation in Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), along with Japan, in December 2022.  

The trilateral collaboration for future combat aircraft, which is expected to enter service by 2035, has also improved industrial cooperation between the three countries, allowing them to exchange advanced technologies and share development costs.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Through this defence agreement with Italy, our long-standing ally and friend, we are deepening our defence collaboration at a vital time for security across Europe and the wider world.

“Working together as Nato allies to support Ukraine, and also on joint projects including GCAP, we continue to promote collective industries and increase our capabilities.”