Italy's populists brush off EU concerns about possible gov't

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Italy's populists brush off EU concerns about possible gov't
Leader of the League party, Matteo Salvini, addresses the media after meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, at the Quirinale presidential palace, in Rome, Monday, May 14, 2018. Italy’s rival populist leaders asked for more time to make a coalition deal. Right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini cited “notable” difference on key issues like stopping the flood of migrants to Italy. He also said he’d insist on justice reform, dear to ally Silvio Berlusconi. Luigi Di Maio for his part told Italy’s president Monday he wants the voter base of his 5-Star Movement to have their say before any coalition deal is finalized. (Riccardo Antimiani/ANSA via AP)

ROME (AP) — Italy’s two populist leaders are brushing off fears in Brussels and the markets over the outlines of their possible government, and are insisting they are close to a deal designed to help ordinary Italians.

League leader Matteo Salvini and 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio said talks on a joint contract — covering issues such as migration, labor reforms and tax cuts — could be ready as soon as Wednesday. Ten weeks after inconclusive elections, both voiced willingness to step aside and let a third candidate be premier.

Salvini taunted Brussels by warning that if European Union capitals were concerned, “then we’re doing something right.” A more conciliatory Di Maio promised dialogue with the EU, but warned that “we won’t be subordinates to some Eurocrats.”