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

ROME — 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."

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