Guarguaglini and Italy Def Minister Differ on UK-France Pact
Italy‘s defense minister has tried to calm fears about Italy being shut out from the choicest defense deals in Europe by the Anglo-French agreement on defense cooperation.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show on the 20th of June, Ignazio La Russa said, “I do not see anything incorrect about relationships between one state and another,” adding that “the information I have been given is not so bleak.”
The Anglo-French deal did not prevent Italy consolidating its relationship with France, La Russa said.
But the minister‘s comments were at odds with the views of Pierfrancesco Guarguaglini, the chairman of Italian state-controlled defense giant Finmeccanica, who was sat next to La Russa at a Paris Air Show press conference. “The accords between two countries go against a more open Europe,” he said.
Italian industrial officials have been up in arms over the Anglo-French deal, with centres on UAV programs, an area in which Italy had sought greater pan-European cooperation.
At Paris BAE Systems and Dassault are showing off their planned Telemos MALE UAV – a product of the accord.
Italian defense industry association AIAD has already contacted equivalent organizations in Germany, Spain and Sweden to propose parallel joint programs to the Anglo-French deal.
Guarguaglini said after the press conference that Italy needed to be looking into closer partnerships with Germany and Turkey, among others.
Remo Pertica, the chairman of AIAD, repeated his warning at the show that the Neuron
UCAV program, which teams Italy and France alongside other partners, was unlikely to proceed between its development phase thanks to the Anglo-French deal.
“Each country will simply retain the technology they have contributed to date,” he said.
Defense News – By TOM KINGTON