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Italian PM sets pro-EU agenda with less bickering

Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Photo Credit:. EPA

Rome, Sep 9  Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday set out a  pro-EU agenda for his second cabinet to help the bloc reform without jeopardizing its sovereign interests.

Promising a “rigorous and responsible” approach to governing, Conte is hopeful to assuage Italians, who have witnessed years of political upheaval, one that would be “pursued within, and not outside the perimeter of the European Union.”

Conte assured that his new coalition consisting of anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) is committed to work and less bickering contrary to the previous one , ahead of a confidence vote in the lower chamber of Parliament, Efe news reported.

Italy’s lower house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies must approve the cabinet by vote, which has already been sworn in by President Mattarella.

In a speech to parliament before a vote of confidence in his administration, Conte called for less conflicting relations with the European Union, reiterated that he would work with Brussels to reform the bloc’s budget rules and its immigration laws.

“Italy will be a protagonist in the relaunch and renovation of the EU, which will seek to construct a Europe that is more supportive, more inclusive, closer to its citizens, more attentive to environmental sustainability and social and territorial cohesion,” he told lawmakers.

Conte, a law professor with no political affiliation, marked a tack away from the former coalition government between M5S and Matteo Salvini’s far-right League, which collapsed in August over policies on the distribution of migrants, and said they eroded Italy’s sovereignty.

“Defending the national interest does not mean abandoning yourself to sterile isolationist retreats. Defending the national interest means, as I have always tried to do, putting the country itself first and never being conditioned by the pressure of economic powers and undue external influences,” Conte added.

He described the new pro-European government as a “political and social pact” that would begin a new stage of reforms.

The Prime Minister added that the new executive would seek to rectify some of the tough, Salvini-era anti-immigration laws that were flagged by the country’s President, Sergio Matterella as being possibly anti-constitutional and in breach of human rights.

 

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