ROME (AP) – The Latest on Italian politics (all times local):
Italy’s opposition Democratic Party says the country’s new populist 5-Star-League coalition government may have some good intentions but has no specific ways to finance them or firm proposals for giving young Italians a better future.
Democratic leader Maurizio Martina called the speech Tuesday by new Premier Giuseppe Conte generic “propaganda.”
Democratic Sen. Franco Mirabelli said it was perfectly good idea to call for decent salaries and speeding up public works contracts. “But the point is: How do you do it? With what resources?”
Mirabelli also harshly criticized Conte for what he said was not paying enough attention to Italy’s fight against the mafia, noting that the country’s new interior minister was in Sicily on Sunday “and didn’t say a word” about organized crime.
The Democrats plan to vote against the new government in confidence votes later Tuesday and Wednesday. The 5-Stars and League have slight parliamentary majorities.
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has declared the Europe Union’s immigration policy a “failure” and demanded it be renegotiated as he outlined the policy agenda of the populist 5-Star Movement and League’s “government of change.”
In his first policy address, Conte insisted that Italy isn’t racist and fully accepts its responsibilities to welcome and integrate legitimate refugees. But he said the EU must take on a greater burden, including in its negotiations with migrants’ home countries and in sending back those who don’t qualify for asylum.
Conte was interrupted nearly three-dozen times during his hour-plus-long speech before Parliament’s upper Senate chamber before a confidence vote later Tuesday. He will deliver a similar address to the lower Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday.
Between them, the 5-Stars and League have a slight parliamentary majority.
Italy’s populist government will present its agenda to Parliament, where the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and right-wing League have slim majorities that are expected to give Premier Giuseppe Conte the necessary votes of confidence to start governing.
In his first policy statement, Conte addresses the upper Senate chamber on Tuesday and the lower Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, capping an extraordinary week that saw the installation of Western Europe’s first populist government after three months of political and financial turmoil.
Conte’s address is expected to draw heavily from the 5-Star-League’s 57-page government agenda, which calls for a two-tiered flat tax, a basic income for poor Italians and pension reform – a heavy spending platform that economists and EU policymakers worry will increase the country’s debt burden, already Europe’s heaviest after Greece.