Italy’s new premier reassures over European Union fears

The law professor set to become Italy’s next head of government has confirmed the country’s place in the European Union and international affairs.

But Guiseppe Conte said his first priority is to be the “defence lawyer of the Italian people”.

The premier-designate received a mandate from President Sergio Mattarella to try to form western Europe’s first populist government.

The political freshman was the compromise choice of the eurosceptic 5-Star Movement and League to break more than two months of political deadlock after inconclusive elections.

Mr Conte says he is aware of the “delicate and difficult phase” Italy is in and committed to working with European and international allies.

His comments were aimed at soothing jittery markets and European capitals wary of the eurosceptic programme of Mr Conte’s populist backers.

Press Association