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Italian PM-designate tries to reassure EU

ITALY’S prime minister-designate Giuseppe Conte spent his first day in office today finalising a cabinet and seeking to reassure the EU that the country will abide by its “European commitments.”

Mr Conte, a law professor with no background in politics, was asked to try to form a government on Wednesday by President Sergio Mattarella after the populist Five-Star Movement and anti-immigrant League picked him as their joint candidate for PM.

He has pledged to implement Five-Star’s electoral programme, a mixed bag which includes introducing a guaranteed income for poor Italians, replacing the current income tax brackets with a two-tier flat tax which cuts the top level of tax on the rich from 43 to 20 per cent and abolishing an obligatory vaccination scheme brought in after a deadly measles epidemic.

However, EU officials say many proposals will break its rules on restricting budget deficits. European Commission spokesman Margaritas Schinas said that “deeds count more than words” when asked if he was reassured by Mr Conte’s soothing remarks.


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