Italy deserves respect, says EU Commission chief

Brussels,¬†¬†¬†European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday voiced confidence in Italy – where populist forces came out on top in the inconclusive March 4 polls – saying its “deserves respect”, will stay in Europe and investors will not decide its future government.

“The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, wishes to put on record his conviction that Italy’s fate does not lie in the hands of the financial markets,” said a European Commission statement.

“Regardless of which political party may be in power, Italy is a founding member of the European Union that has contributed immensely to European integration,” it added.

Juncker “is convinced that Italy will continue on its European path” and the EU executive “is ready to work with Italy with responsibility and mutual respect,” the statement said, adding: “Italy deserves respect.”

Juncker’s remarks came amid anger in Italy at alleged comments by EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger suggesting that negative market sentiment would deter Italians from voting for populist parties in future.

Oettinger made the inflammatory remarks in an interview due to be published by Germany’s Deutsche Welle radio, although the journalist who in interviewed him on Wednesday rowed back from an earlier tweet, claiming he had misinterpreted the Commissioner’s remarks.