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Italy's populist govt wins 1st confidence vote - 6/5/2018 1:51:50 PM

08 June 2018

The leader of Italy's new populist government has declared the European Union's immigration policy a failure.

The alliance between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League gained the Senate's endorsement with 171 votes in favour, 117 against and 25 abstentions.

In his 72-minute speech, Conte said priorities would include tackling social hardship through the introduction of a universal income - a 5-Star election promise - and to stem an influx of illegal immigrants, a pivotal policy of the League. Opposition Senator Pier Ferdinando Casini said he had heard a list of good intentions and he wanted to see this transformed into concrete things for the country.

On Wednesday a vote of confidence to the new government will be held in the Chamber of deputies, where the coalition also has a comfortable majority.

While confirming Italy's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commitments, the new government's policy agenda calls for lifting European Union sanctions against Russian Federation as well as the opening of dialogue and partnerships, given Moscow's economic, commercial and strategic importance.

"The people spoke and demanded change", Giuseppe Conte said Tuesday in his maiden address to parliament, where he promised to serve the public as their "lawyer for the interests of the Italian people". Italy's 10-year government borrowing costs rose 18 basis points to 2.74% and two-year yields were up 17 bps at 0.99%.

In the debate after the speech, ex-premier Mario Monti said Italy risks being put under the supervision of the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund unless the government carefully manages public accounts.

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Italy already has the biggest debt burden of major euro zone nations at about 130 percent of economic output.

In his first policy speech to lawmakers since being sworn in, Conte reaffirmed several of the coalition's key manifesto themes, including a tough line on migrants, rejection of economic austerity and conciliatory gestures toward Moscow.

A crowd of enthusiastic supporters and a smaller group of protesters had earlier gathered in front of the gates of the town's immigrant center where Salvini would give his speech, trading insults and almost coming to blows.One protester brandished a sign saying "refugees welcome", while a supporter said, "We don't want any more pests", and others simply chanted "Matteo, Matteo".

Giuseppe Conte also called for an "obligatory" redistribution of asylum seekers around the EU.

League leader Matteo Salvini is interior minister, a position that gives him wide say on migration.

Conte makes his debut in the global arena at this week's G7 summit in Canada.

Italy's populist govt wins 1st confidence vote - 6/5/2018 1:51:50 PM