Italy Politics: Italy PM calls European Union immigration policy a failure

Naples rally

Naples rally

Migration should not be the butt of jokes and is an issue to be tackled by the whole of Europe, Italy's populist Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday.

The cabinet comfortably won approval in the senate on Tuesday evening after Conte delivered his first policy speech, in which he called for "obligatory" redistribution of asylum seekers around the European Union and a review of sanctions against Russian Federation.

On Tuesday, Conte won a confidence vote in the Senate. Salvini is to be the interior minister in the new cabinet and Di Maio will hold the economic development portfolio. "If populism is the attitude of listening to people's needs, then we lay a claim to it".

Luigi Di Maio, the 5-Star leader, is labour minister.

The government is set to win despite both former premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party - a campaign ally of the League - and the outgoing centre-left Democratic party saying that they will not vote in favour.

Newly appointed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during his first session at the Senate in Rome, Italy, June 5, 2018. "Conte's comments were reassuring to investors given the make-up of the Italian coalition and its previous statements and certainly helped pushed the euro higher", said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst, at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington. Italy's 10-year government borrowing costs rose 18 basis points to 2.74 percent after hitting a one-week low of 2.509 percent on Monday.

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"The speech shows there's no signs that any of their proposals will be watered down", said Antoine Bouvet, an interest-rates strategist with Japanese bank Mizuho.

Mario Monti, Italian prime minister during the euro zone debt crisis in 2011, said Italy risks being put under the supervision of the "troika" - the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

Italy already has the biggest debt burden of major eurozone nations at about 130% of economic output. Economists estimate the coalition's policy agenda would add tens of billions of euros to annual spending.

He also referred to the coalition's promise to introduce a flat income tax, but he gave no details nor a timetable for implementing policies - except to say that the government had a medium-term to long-term vision.

Mr. Conte mostly avoided foreign affairs, other than to talk up the sanctity of Italy's relationship with the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, before adding: "Mind you!"

"We are not racist and we never will be", he said.

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