Juncker gives major speech in Florence as Italy's Eurosceptics edge closer to forming government

 

 

 
Jean-Claude Juncker is today expected to make an impassioned plea for the continued unity of the European Union after Brexit in Florence, as Eurosceptic parties edge closer to forming Italy's new government. 
 
The president of the European Commission will speak at a flagship conference in Florence but his words will be closely scrutinised as the possibility of anti-EU parties taking power in Rome became increasingly likely yesterday. 
 
The left wing Five Star Movement, which has called for Italy to leave the euro, and right wing League, which made gains on an anti-migrant platform, have launched detailed talks to form a coalition that would bring a Eurosceptic government to the Eurozone's third largest economy. 
 

Yesterday's Italy's president Sergio Mattarella warned that the only answers to problems such as the migration crisis, which has hit Italy and Greece the hardest, was the EU. 

"To believe one can go it alone is pure illusion, or even worse, a wilful hoax against public opinion," Mr Mattarella said. "Everyone knows that none of the great challenges facing our continent can be tackled by any single member state on its own."

Mr Mattarella had suggested forming a caretaker administration to break the impasse on forming Italy's government, which spurred Five Star and the League, the two parties who performed the best at the polls, into talks.

On Wednesday the influential former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said he would not back such a coalition, which would have a slim majority, but would not oppose it either. 

His pick for prime minister was Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, who is also speaking in Florence today, but his Forza Italia party performed worse than expected in the elections.