Luigi Di Maio, 30, the Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, told the Italian Parliament today: “The problem is not about keeping or not the euro, or being or not pro-EU.
“In order to talk about alternative measures to make our country great, the only requisite is for the government of Italy to command respect from the EU and the international community.”
The comments come amid growing tensions between the southern European country and the bloc over the ongoing dispute about the ongoing situation with the migrants landing in the country from northern Africa.
The European Union has been slow to react to Italy’s cry for help over being given the funds and resources to be able to deal with the influx of more than 12,000 people arriving on Italy’s shores in the past few days.
In response Italy had threatened to close its ports to NGO rescue boats.
Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice president, said Europe’s door should remain open to people in need despite the political problems that caused.
He said: “We would not be the European Union without the values we share and one of those values is that people who flee war and persecution should find shelter.
“This issue will not go away tomorrow, or next year, not in a decade – it is here to stay for generations.”
The Commission plan published on Tuesday restated the need to implement previous accords.
The list included EU support for the Libyan coast guard and border guards, sending more staff from EU migration agencies to Italy, increasing aid to African countries that migrants come from or transit, and reforming EU asylum laws which, currently, place the burden on frontline states such as Italy and Greece.
It promised €35million more to help Italy build up its migrant reception centres and “additional funding”, but with no amount mentioned, to pay people in Libya and Niger to go home instead of coming to the EU.
The Commission also said there should be “a new resettlement pledging exercise, notably from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Ethiopia and Sudan” to take in UN-registered refugees in a more orderly way.
Mr Timmermans admitted there was little that was new in the list, which made no mention either of migrant quotas or of Italy’s request for rescued people to be taken to other EU states in the region.
Mr Di Maio also said that his party would not call for an immediate referendum on Italy participating in the euro.
He said: “To call the referendum on leaving the euro we will wait a year and some months during which we will protect Italy’s interests by asking Europe to change the fiscal compact and the 3 per cent budget deficit ceiling.
“If that does not change, we will not question the referendum. The EU will self-destruct on its own if it doesn’t change.”