September 29, 2017 / 9:22 AM / 9 months ago

Franco-Italian naval alliance could be extended to Germany - minister to paper

MILAN (Reuters) - A mooted naval alliance between Italy and France could be extended to include Germany, Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said in a newspaper interview on Friday.

Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti speaks during a news conference with her British counterpart Michael Fallon (not seen) in Rome, Italy, February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

On Wednesday France and Italy reached an agreement over a tie-up between Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and French rival STX France.

That agreement could envisage a share swap between Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group to cement a future naval alliance.

Speaking to La Repubblica daily, Pinotti said the agreement Rome and Paris were thinking about involved surface ships but could in the future be extended to include submarines.

“If that happens, talks with Germany, which has the same propulsion systems as we do, would be inevitable,” she said.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by John Stonestreet

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