According to Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s Prime Minister, the Italian Government wants to give Europe “a shake”.

In an interview, Conte insisted that Italy has “not given up on expressing its opinions even when what it had to say was uncomfortable.”

“Some people say we wanted to challenge the EU, I say we actually want to give it a shake to revive it,” he continued, “It’s during moments of crisis that one must give things a shake get back on one’s feet and restart.”

Then, on Tuesday (12th February), in his debut speech at the European Parliament, Conte outlined how the EU has “lost contact” with the people that it represents.

The Italian PM then engaged in a heated clash with MEPs in the European Parliament, with senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt calling the Italian prime minister a “puppet”

Verhofstadt also said how he regrets that Italy has gone from “being a staunch defender of Europe to the back of the line.”

“Today, it hurts me to see the political degeneration of Italy,” Verhofstadt said. The country “sometimes behaves in an anti-European way, openly spiteful against other member states.”

It is not the first time the Italians have clashed with European authorities, having already come head-to-head over domestic spending plans to cut the budget deficit. Following the most recent events, Salvini – the deputy PM of Italy – tweeted on Tuesday evening that it is “shameful” the way Conte had been treated and urged voters to “send them [MEPs] home” in May’s European election.