ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday he hoped that Britain’s general election will lead to it making an orderly exit from the European Union next month.
Britain goes to the polls on Thursday, and among the major parties only Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are running on a pledge to implement Brexit next month on the basis of a deal already struck between Johnson and the EU.
Addressing the Senate, Conte made reference to an EU summit on Friday “the day after Britain’s general election which we hope will contribute to an orderly Brexit on Jan. 31, 2020.”
Britain’s Labour Party has promised a second referendum on Brexit, while the Liberal Democrats want the country to remain in the EU.
Conte said relations between the EU and Britain after Brexit will be measured in proportion to London’s willingness to make commitments in areas such as people’s ability to move from country to country.
The comments reflect Rome’s concerns over the status of tens of thousands of Italian citizens living in the United Kingdom if and when it leaves the EU.
“An ambitious partnership cannot, for example, do without adequate mobility for exchanges between citizens,” Conte said.
Reporting by James Mackenzie, writing by Gavin Jones, editing by Crispian Balmer and Hugh Lawson