Italy

Nuclear-weapon endorser: hosts nuclear weapons on its territory

Hosts 40 US nuclear weapons

Has not yet joined the TPNW

Summary

Italy has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

Nuclear weapons in Italy

Italy is one of five members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to host US nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a nuclear-sharing agreement. The Italian air force is assigned approximately 40 B61 nuclear bombs, which are deployed at Aviano Air Base and Ghedi Air Base.

Italy supports the retention and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, as indicated by its endorsement of various alliance statements.

 

National position

Italy has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the treaty and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

 

Political developments

In September 2017, the Italian parliament adopted a resolution that instructed the government “to explore the possibility” of becoming a state party to the treaty “in a way compatible with [Italy’s] NATO obligations and with the positioning of allied states”.

The minister for foreign affairs of Italy, Luigi Di Maio, has pledged to work for his country’s signature and ratification of the treaty. He made this commitment in October 2017, prior to assuming the office of minister for foreign affairs.

The former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta and former foreign minister Franco Frattini signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on current leaders to “show courage and boldness – and join the treaty”.

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov in November 2020 found that 87 per cent of Italians believe that their country should join the treaty, with just 5 per cent opposed to joining. Furthermore, 76 per cent believe that Italy should be among the first NATO states to join, even if it faced pressure from allies not to do so.

The poll also found that 74 per cent of Italians want US nuclear weapons to be removed from Italian territory – a requirement of the treaty.

 

Treaty negotiations

Italy did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption. 

In 2016, Italy mistakenly voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. It subsequently informed the UN secretariat that it had intended to vote against.

In a document sent to NATO members ahead of the vote, the United States “strongly encourage[d]” members, including Italy, to vote against the resolution, “not to merely abstain”. In addition, it said that, if the treaty negotiations do commence, allies and partners should “refrain from joining them”.

Nuclear-weapon endorser: hosts nuclear weapons on its territory

Hosts 40 US nuclear weapons

Has not yet joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Summary

Italy has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

Nuclear weapons in Italy

Italy is one of five members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to host US nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a nuclear-sharing agreement. The Italian air force is assigned approximately 40 B61 nuclear bombs, which are deployed at Aviano Air Base and Ghedi Air Base.

Italy supports the retention and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, as indicated by its endorsement of various alliance statements.

 

National position

Italy has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the treaty and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

 

Political developments

In September 2017, the Italian parliament adopted a resolution that instructed the government “to explore the possibility” of becoming a state party to the treaty “in a way compatible with [Italy’s] NATO obligations and with the positioning of allied states”.

The minister for foreign affairs of Italy, Luigi Di Maio, has pledged to work for his country’s signature and ratification of the treaty. He made this commitment in October 2017, prior to assuming the office of minister for foreign affairs.

The former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta and former foreign minister Franco Frattini signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on current leaders to “show courage and boldness – and join the treaty”.

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov in November 2020 found that 87 per cent of Italians believe that their country should join the treaty, with just 5 per cent opposed to joining. Furthermore, 76 per cent believe that Italy should be among the first NATO states to join, even if it faced pressure from allies not to do so.

The poll also found that 74 per cent of Italians want US nuclear weapons to be removed from Italian territory – a requirement of the treaty.

 

Treaty negotiations

Italy did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption. 

In 2016, Italy mistakenly voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. It subsequently informed the UN secretariat that it had intended to vote against.

In a document sent to NATO members ahead of the vote, the United States “strongly encourage[d]” members, including Italy, to vote against the resolution, “not to merely abstain”. In addition, it said that, if the treaty negotiations do commence, allies and partners should “refrain from joining them”.

[PARTNERS]

Associazione Italiana Medicina Per La Prevenzione Della Guerra Nucleare

website


Cormuse 

website


Istituto di Ricerche Internazionali Archivio Disarmo 

website


PeaceLink 

website


Pressenza International Press Agency 

website


Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo

website


Senzatomica

website


WILPF Italia 

website


World Foundation for Peace

website


Disarmisti esigenti (Demanding disarmists)

website


Pax Christi Italia

website


Mondo senza Guerre e senza Violenza - Argonauti per la Pace

website

[LOCALSUPPORT]

Local support for TPNW Get involved with ICAN in Italy ›

Support in Italy for the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge >

Support in Italy for the ICAN Cities Appeal >

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Local support for TPNW Get involved with ICAN in Italy ›

Support in Italy for the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge >

Support in Italy for the ICAN Cities Appeal >

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  • Associazione Italiana Medicina Per La Prevenzione Della Guerra Nucleare

    website

  • Cormuse 

    website

  • Istituto di Ricerche Internazionali Archivio Disarmo 

    website

  • PeaceLink 

    website

  • Pressenza International Press Agency 

    website

  • Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo

    website

  • Senzatomica

    website

  • WILPF Italia 

    website

  • World Foundation for Peace

    website

  • Disarmisti esigenti (Demanding disarmists)

    website

  • Pax Christi Italia

    website

  • Mondo senza Guerre e senza Violenza - Argonauti per la Pace

    website