Italy’s president accepts Giuseppe Conte as prime minister

TheEuropeanCentralBank /

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella has accepted Giuseppe Conte the nominated candidate of the two coalition parties as prime minister.

Conte a 53-year-old law professor coming out of the presidential palace said  “Outside of this palace there’s a country that rightfully awaits a new government and answers. What is about to be born is the government of change.”

He added that he would be the “defender of all Italians on the international and European stage”.

The coalition deal promises tax cuts, a guaranteed basic income for the poor and deportations of 500,000 migrants with a renegotiation of the Dublin II treaty – policies that are likely to put the eurozone’s third-biggest economy on a collision course with Brussels. What is more worrying for Europe however, is that Italy will also want to renegotiate the German-inspired Stability and Growth Pact rules, block Macron’s plans for greater integration and ask to write down some of its debt.

Mr Conte will now form a list of ministers to be approved by the president before a new government can be sworn in. The cabinet will then face a vote of confidence in parliament.

Mr Conte’s appointment was greeted with alarm in Europe where his appointment was greeted with headlines such as the BBC’s “Italy president names novice Giuseppe Conte as populist PM“.

The EU executive already warned Italy’s incoming government on Wednesday it should not try to implement its high-cost agenda and go on cutting the country’s public debt. EU officials pointed to market pressure as a more effective form of eurozone discipline than finger-wagging from Brussels.