Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday ahead of a vote of confidence to approve the new ruling coalition between the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD) that the new government “will be mild-mannered” in a thinly-veiled rebuked to his former colleague Matteo Salvini.
Conte also underlined that the country would seek to improve relations with Brussels to work towards building “a more solid, more inclusive Europe” and to change the bloc’s economic governance and migration policies.
“We cannot in the coming months waste our time with disputes and clashes,” Conte told lawmakers in Parliament. “We must be sober in our words and active in our deeds.”
“The language of this government will be mild-mannered because we understand that our actions will not be judged by the arrogance of our words,” he added.
Conte was first appointed Prime Minister in June 2018 as a compromise pick between the populist M5S and the far-right League parties forming the ruling coalition. But the government was soon bogged down by bickering with League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini casting a large shadow over his M5S counterpart, Luigi di Maio.
But Salvini, boosted by solid opinion polls and European elections in which the League scored much higher than the M5S, pulled the plug on the coalition in early August in the hope of triggering elections that would allow the League to rule alone.
But the M5S scuppered his plans by negotiating a coalition deal with the centre-left PD party with Conte then forming a cabinet filled with moderate and pro-Europe ministers.
The crucial economy ministry was given to PD’s Roberto Gualtieri, the chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, while independent Luciana Lamorgese will replace Salvini, at the interior ministry.
Lamorgese, the first woman to lead the Milan prefecture, is a veteran at the interior ministry, which she first joined in 1979. Over the past decade, she has primarily worked on migration and the integration of refugees and migrants.
Conte will meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Commission announced on Monday.__EuroNews