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Italy's PM presents pro-European agenda

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday said that the new coalition government wants to return the country to the centre of the EU to help the bloc reform without jeopardizing its sovereign interests.
Italy's PM presents pro-European agenda

Conte set out the agenda of the new governing partnership between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) ahead of a confidence vote in the lower chamber of Parliament, Efe news reported.

"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.

The rhetoric marked a tack away from the former coalition government between M5S and Matteo Salvini's far-right League, which collapsed in August.

Conte survived the turbulence and will continue to serve as Prime Minister, one of the key demands in the M5S-PD negotiations.

Salvini, a eurosceptic, frequently took issue with EU laws, such as its 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.

He warned, however, that it would not be possible without the real support of the EU.

"Support has been offered, but so far not implemented," he said.

Right-wing politic protested outside the Parliament building ahead of the session on Monday.

( With inputs from IANS )

Italy's PM presents pro-European agenda
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