ROME (Reuters) – Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Friday the government would put the economic interests of Italians ahead of European Union “bureaucrats,” in response to Brussels’s concerns about Rome’s expansionary budget.
“Italians’ right to health, jobs and pensions come before European threats … or any arguments of EU bureaucrats,” Salvini said at a news conference.
Salvini also dismissed suggestions of clashes in the government involving Economy Minister Giovanni Tria, who had wanted to set the budget deficit lower than the level of 2.4 percent of national output finally announced.
Salvini said he got on “wonderfully” with Tria, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, leader of the 5-Star Movement, and they all shared “the same objectives.”
(Reporting By Gavin Jones)