DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – – Six months since entering politics, government and the international arena, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took to the stage of the World Economic Forum on Wednesday to talk up his administration’s populist vision.
In a flurry of meetings, interviews and a speech, Conte, a Florence law professor, railed against the damage globalization had wrought on the middle classes and noted how disappointed Italians are with the European Union.
Government - Upgrade - Infrastructure - Program - Italians
He said his government planned a massive upgrade of its physical and digital infrastructure, and played up a newly unveiled income-support program, saying it would help lift 5 million Italians out of poverty.
“Financial stability is very important, but more important is social stability and working…for the needs of the people,” Conte said in an interview.
Speech - English - Smattering - Italy - Thing
In a subsequent speech, delivered in English with a smattering of Italian, he said Italy was focused on one thing: the “PEOPLE” (noted in capital letters in a handout of his official speech to the press).
“We are radical, but we are radical because we want to bring power back to where it was supposed to be, according to our Constitution, its people,” said Conte, who was plucked from obscurity to lead the euro zone’s third largest economy.
Admission - Conte - Government - Movement - League
But by his own admission, Conte’s government — which comprises the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and far-right League — does not enjoy universal international goodwill.
The 54-year-old prime minister said his administration didn’t “have the trust of the international press”. He also rued that his government had a reputation for inaction, saying: “It’s not true. We are doing thousands of things.”
Ministers - Brussels - EU - Budget - Restraints
His more outspoken ministers have battled Brussels over EU budget restraints and have repeatedly denounced French President Emmanuel Macron, accusing him of sucking the wealth out of Africa and promoting an elitist vision of Europe.
Conte has often sought to play the...
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