[WATCH] Updated | Foreign minister says it is premature to comment as Italy's next government could up the stakes on migration

Italy could finally have a government next week and it will be a radical shake-up for Europe and Malta as Lega and Movimento Cinque Stelle reach an agreement on a way forward

Italy could adopt a harsher stand on migration as early as next week after coalition talks between Lega and Cinque Stelle to form a government resulted in broad agreement.

The two parties led by Matteo Salvini and Luigi di Maio, respectively, were engaged in a last-ditch effort to form a government, almost two months after an election returned no clear winner.

Speaking to MaltaToday about the latest developments, Foreign minister Carmelo Abela stressed that it would be premature for him to comment on the latest developments, and how a Lega-Movimento Cinque Stelle government's policy on migration might impact Malta, adding however that the government had taken note of what was said in the run up to Italy's election.

"We must wait for the programme that the new Italian goverment will be working on so it is slightly premature to speak about a government's programme, but we know what was said during the campagin," Abela said.

Lega's Matteo Salvini
Lega's Matteo Salvini

He added that it made sense to await the appointment of a prime minister and for the government's programme to be announced to parliament.

On Thursday, representatives of both leaders were optimistic that Italy could have a government by next week. Agreement on a programme for government is set to include a harsher stand on migration, the introduction of a flat tax, a minimum income for all citizens and laws to regulate conflict of interest.

After the March election, Cinque Stelle emerged as the largest single party but was unable to govern on its own. Lega was the largest party within the centre-right coalition led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Both parties are set to give Italian and European politics a radical shake-up.

Talks between both parties could start after Berlusconi dropped objections to his coalition ally going it alone in talks to form a government.

Cinque Stelle and Lega have the numbers in parliament to form a majority between them.

Initial indications suggest that Di Maio and Salvini would seek a third person to serve as prime minister, with the Cinque Stelle leader likely to take the foreign office and Salvini home affairs. Both are set to meet the Italian president on Sunday.

Lega’s anti-immigrant stand is very likely to give Malta headaches over migration. Italy has, for the past four years accepted to take in all migrants rescued in the central Mediterranean, a decision that has resulted in no migrant landings in Malta.

This is very likely to change with Lega part of the government and Salvini in charge of security.

However, the political impact is likely to hit Europe as well. Both parties are sceptical of the EU and have flirted with the idea of taking Italy out of the Eurozone. 

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