September 09, 2019

Italian PM promises a more respectful government after Matteo Salvini pushed out
Giuseppe Conte, the Italian prime minister, asked lawmakers to support his new coalition in a confidence vote on Monday as he unveiled a government agenda focused on a less confrontational approach towards Brussels and more flexibility in the European Union’s budget rules. It came as the head of Italy's far-Right League party Matteo Salvini told protesters against the new government that he will provide serious opposition in and out of parliament. Mr Salvini, who gained a reputation as a controversial interior minister in the previous administration but was excluded from the new coalition, said: "We will be a serious opposition, in parliament but also among the people, from north to south, one town after another."  Supporters of the anti-migrant League as well as of the extreme-right Brothers of Italy protested close to parliament, with some performing the fascist salute. "Today, a part of Italy, I think they're the majority in the country, took to the streets to demand an election," Mr Salvini said after taking selfies with supporters. The League's leader Matteo Salvini attends a demonstration with far-Right party Brothers of Italy Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini Mr Conte addressed the Lower House of parliament on his new coalition, which is made up of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the centre-Left Democratic Party, who last month clinched an uneasy tie-up in a last-ditch attempt to avoid snap polls. Politicians the first of two key confidence votes needed by Mr Conte’s new cabinet to be installed. The vote in the lower house is expected to pass easily, as the ruling coalition enjoys a comfortable majority, while in the Senate – which votes on Tuesday – the contest is closer.   Mr Conte used his speech, which was interrupted by both applause and booing, to outline the central role Italy wants to regain in Europe and a new conciliatory relationship with Brussels, which may lead to a new approach to key economic and migration policies.  Faced with the daunting task of finding massive financial resources for Italy’s 2020 budget, to avert a painful VAT hike, Mr Conte appealed to his European Union partners to obtain more wiggle room on Rome’s spending rules. The PD and the Five Stars, have been bitterly fighting over the past year and will have to work together if they want Mr Conte’s second mandate to last. The premier asked the two rival partners to work together on a common reform programme, aimed at bringing Italy back to “sustainable growth.”  Mr Conte also insisted that EU partners will have to share responsibility for the migrants who reach Europe hoping for a better life, after fleeing poverty and conflicts.  Mr Salvini’s hardline stance, which banned migrants rescued by charity ships from Italian ports, has been one of the main reasons behind his electoral success. Mr Conte indicated in his speech that those policies will change, but didn’t provide details on how.
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