Italy’s Salvini wants referendum on EU combustion-car ban

League leader Matteo Salvini wants Italians to vote on the European Union’s landmark decision to eliminate carbon emissions from new cars by 2035.

Salvini, a junior partner in the right-wing coalition led by Giorgia Meloni, called for a referendum Wednesday, amid a last-minute push for votes ahead of a general election on Sept. 25.

“Let the workers of the Mirafiori plant and from all over Italy decide if it’s fair to fire people in Italy and give China an advantage,” he said referring to the historical Stellantis car factory in Turin.

Car production is a key part of Italy’s industrial sector, with companies such as Stellantis’s Fiat, Ferrari and Lamborghini. China is the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles.

Salvini’s remarks come after Meloni struck a more nationalist and anti-EU tone in the last days of her campaign.

The Brothers of Italy leader, largely seen as the frontrunner to become Italy’s next prime minister, has been trying to reassure international partners and investors by underscoring her continuity with Mario Draghi’s government and by promising to respect spending rules.

In recent days, her party backed Hungary’s Viktor Orban in the European Parliament, and she endorsed Spain’s right-wing Vox party.

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