Commenting on the Future of Europe with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said:
“In our debate with the Italian Prime Minister Conte we expressed our deep concerns about the anti-European path the current Italian government is leading Italy on. Italy, as a founding member of the European Union, the home of great Europeans like Altiero Spinelli and Alcide de Gasperi, the seventh industrial power and the origin of a rich cultural heritage belongs to the heart of Europe. It hurts to see how an irresponsible populist government is trying to alienate this great European nation and its people from their friends – just for the sake of alleged short-term political gains.
“The senseless conflict with the close trade partner France or the escalation over the budget with the European Commission that cost the Italian people an incredible €1.7 billion show: Salvini and his friends do not care about the lives of the Italians. They provoke conflicts in order to abuse the European Union as a scapegoat for everything.
“The most blatant example is the migration issue. We understand that Italians are deeply disappointed by Europe because they were left alone to deal with migration. However, it is not constructive to use every NGO vessel to blackmail Europe at the expense of rescued people. Salvini should instead turn to his so-called friends like the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz or the leader of the Polish PiS ruling party Jarosław Kaczynski. They are the ones blocking a European solution to the migration issue that would help take the burden off countries on the Mediterranean.
"Many brave Italians like the mayors who wanted to open their ports to the NGO rescue ships prove that the Italy of Spinelli and Gasperi still exists. We need a strong, pro-European Italy to shape the future of the European Union together with us – not an Italy that works against us.”