Italy Ready to Join Coalition of European Militaries at Continent's Borders to Tackle Crises


Rome: Italy said Thursday it would be joining a coalition of European militaries ready to react to crises near the continent's borders, as the country's new government rekindled ties with the EU.

The announcement follows a visit to Rome by French President Emmanuel Macron Wednesday for talks with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte aimed at turning the page on Italy's previous anti-EU populist government.

"Italy has officially communicated its readiness to join the European Intervention Initiative EI2, providing its particular national expertise in the security sector in the Mediterranean region," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain have all signed up to the French-led initiative, which was set up outside the European Union and NATO frameworks, it said.

The idea behind EI2 is to be able to rapidly mount a joint military operation, evacuate civilians, or provide aid after a disaster.

Macron was behind the idea and has called for a "real European army".

Historical allies Paris and Rome showed unity this week -- particularly on the hot-button issue of migration -- after two years of rocky relations.