CNBC Interview with Lega’s Deputy Leader Lorenzo Fontana

Following are excerpts from an interview with CNBC's Joumanna Bercetche and Lega Deputy Leader, Lorenzo Fontana.

JB: You said you'd like to change the relationship that you have with Europe, what changes would you like to see?

LF: 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. 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.

JB: Where does Lega stand on the Euro monetary union?

LF: 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. Mainly it is a currency, that unlike the United States, where you have a central bank with a single public debt. It is a currency that has various public debts, meaning it becomes an issue whenever the EU says that public debt levels are too high. We have a spread that is currently too high; mainly due to certain populations that don't want to manage their finances, which ultimately ended up with the formation of a European currency.

JB: Would you consider speaking to the 5 Star Movement if that guaranteed you a position in government?

LF: Well at the moment that would be premature. We are part of a provisional centre-right coalition and we want to see if we can make up the number to govern with a centre-right coalition. If that doesn't work, obviously we'll have to speak to everyone. It has been agreed internally that the party in the centre-right coalition with the highest votes will get to choose the leadership of the coalition; this means that Matteo Salvini would lead the centre-right movement. After this we must see at a parliamentary level where the numbers can be added up in order to form a government.

JB: What are going to be the economic priorities if you are going into government?

LF: For us the main economy, is that of employment. The main focus for us is to create opportunities for young Italians to find employment in their home nation. Our unemployment rate is too high, we also have a high level of jobs that are badly paid and generally there are too many people who don't have a future and this adds to our demographic issues. Every year in Italy we are making a net loss from births, deaths and people moving abroad of around 250,000 inhabitants. This simply means we are a country in decline. We must focus in bringing jobs back in order to relaunch the economy and make it competitive.

JB: Italian debt to GDP is over 130%, do you have a plan to help bring down public debt?

LF: The only way to lower public debt is through employment. The more people that are in work, the more is contributed to the economy, through time it will grow and this will also help bring down the public debt. The problem of the debt, is just not of the debt itself, we must try and source who these debts belong to. We have a public debt that is exclusively Italian, however we have a currency that is centralised and European. We seem to be the only country in this situation can't carry on like this.

JB: Finally if you were in government what type of relationship would you like to have with Russia?

LF: We want to have good relations with Russia; we want to see Russia as a normal and natural partner with Europe. Due to geopolitical issues that have nothing to do with Italy, there have been sanctions imposed that have actually hurt the Italian economy and certainly brought poverty to our people. We want to abolish the sanctions on Russia and we want to collaborate with them in order to abolish radical Islam. Therefore we are keen to have closer ties with Russia.

JB: Has anyone from Russia congratulated you on your win today?

LF: I'm sure they will be pleased with our result. We will see with time if we can have the relations that we wish to have with Russia, but fundamentally we wish this more for the European Union and the Italian economy.


For more information contact Jonathan Millman, EMEA Communications Executive:

  • Jonathan.Millman@CNBC.com

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