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Italy’s election result could see its ties to Europe change dramatically

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The election result was surprising to political analysts as it saw the Lega party overtake Forza Italia, its center-right coalition partner, in terms of vote share giving it more influence in the coalition and potentially at a national level.

The party, formerly Lega Nord (Northern League) used to campaign for independence for Italy’s northern regions but has now focused on national matters, particularly immigration.

Party leader Salvini said Monday that a referendum on the euro was not a possibility but said people, rather than bureaucracy, needed to be at the heart of Europe. He also repeated his criticism of the single currency, signaling that the party, if it forms part of a coalition government which could do, might be openly critical of the euro zone’s political direction at a national level.

Lega’s Deputy Leader Lorenzo Fontana told CNBC Monday that the party would like to change its relationship with Europe. Fontana explained what changes he’d like to see.

“Our position remains that the European Union has enforced economic boundaries for our citizens and people. Europe can be strong if it remembers that there are a vast amount of populations with different identities, traditions and cultures,” he said, speaking after Lega’s election success.

“There isn’t an issue with creating a deal between the various people, but pushing forward the economy ahead of the people is incorrect. We have seen in the past this hasn’t worked; we want to change Europe’s perspective, we aren’t against Europe.”

Fontana repeated his leader Salvini’s view on the euro, saying “our view is that the euro is a currency that was created incorrectly.”

“It is a hybrid created to give certain countries an advantage and others, such as Italy, a disadvantage,” he said.

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