Italy ‘very important’ to EU, says Juncker

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Brussels, May 17 (IANS/AKI) Italy is a country “of maximum importance” for the European Union, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

“Italy is of maximum importance for the EU, which would not be complete without the Italian nation and its people,” Juncker told reporters here.

“I know Italians very well,” Juncker said, noting that he grew up in a village with several Italian residents and used to play football with them.

“I love Italy, the genius of its people and their nation. But I won’t comment in advance on the possible outcome of talks taking place on a coalition government,” he said.

“We will see what the outcome is and then we will comment,” Juncker stated.

Juncker was referring to negotiations on a common policy agenda between the populist Five-Star Movement and far-right League party, which Five-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday would be completed “within a few hours”.

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Several previous rounds of talks with Italian political leaders have collapsed since the inconclusive March 4 national election, amid a mesh of seemingly irreconcilable demands.

–IANS/AKI

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