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Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

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Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Local residents look on during a demonstration against the G7 Summit, on June 15, 2024 in Fasano, Puglia. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

Activist Salis returns from Hungary, Meloni denies G7 spat over abortion, Italy struggles to meet NATO minimum defence spend, and more news from Italy on Monday.


Italian activist on trial in Hungary returns home after EU win

An Italian activist on trial in Hungary for allegedly attacking neo-Nazis returned home on Saturday after gaining immunity through election to the European Parliament, Italian media said.

Anti-fascist activist Ilaria Salis, 39, was a candidate for Italy's small Greens and Left Alliance (AVS) in the European Parliament elections, which won 6.7 percent of the vote in Italy at the weekend.

"Authorities took off Salis's ankle bracelet and she is free to move as she likes," lawyer Gyorgy Magyar told AFP.

Salis, a teacher from Monza, near Milan, was arrested in Budapest in February 2023 after a counter-demonstration against a neo-Nazi rally. After being imprisoned for more than a year, Salis was placed under house arrest last month following an appeals court decision.

Meloni denies G7 spat over abortion

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, host of the G7 summit, on Saturday denied there had been a row over the exclusion of the word abortion from a leaders' statement, AFP reported.

Leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies last year committed to addressing "access to safe and legal abortion", in a statement after a summit in Hiroshima in Japan.

But that reference did not appear in the final statement agreed at this year's summit in Italy - with diplomats blaming Meloni.

"The controversy has been constructed in a totally contrived manner, the polemic did not exist in the summit... because there was nothing to quarrel about," she insisted at an end-of-summit press conference.

Italy will struggle to reach 2 percent of GDP on defence spending, minister says

Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto has stated that the country is unlikely to reach 2 percent of its GDP on defence spending, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

The 2 percent threshold has been pushed as a minimum spend by allies in the US and NATO.

"The commitment by almost all NATO countries to increase military spending by more than 2 percent has emerged, and I have reiterated Italy's difficulty connected to the constraints of the European stability pact," Crosetto said during a recent NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels.

"You cannot have one type of position here and another two kilometres away, perhaps they should be agreed politically together because some countries like ours have difficulty reaching and maintaining the commitment".


Meloni praised by President Biden for Ukraine support

Ansa also reports that US President Joe Biden has praised Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni for Italy "continuing to defend Kyiv from Russia's brutal war of aggression."

The White House said the conversation took place during sideline meetings at the G7 meeting in Puglia, Italy.

Both leaders also highlighted the G7 leaders' commitment to provide $50 billion to Ukraine in financial support taken from Russia's frozen assets.



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