Brexit a chance to boost Italy's ties with the UK says Conte

Brexit a chance to boost Italy's ties with the UK says Conte

Britain's exit from the European Union with the deal agreed this week by premier Boris Johnson and the bloc could offer an opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties with Italy, premier Giuseppe Conte claimed on Friday.

"I am not happy at the news of the UK's (probable) exit, which will be decided by its lawmakers," Conte said, referring to a vote by MPs scheduled on Saturday.

"The British parliament now has the final say. I hope it will be an opportunity to intensify relations between Italy and the UK. It could be a chance to step up cooperation," Conte added.

Conte was speaking to reporters in Brussels after a summit at which EU leaders agreed to leave the door open to a further extension of Brexit after 31 October should Johnson lose Saturday's crunch vote.

Johnson has repeatedly said Brexit will happen by the end of the month - with or without a deal.

MPs passed a law in September, known as the Benn Act, under which Johnson is legally required to request a further delay of Brexit until January 2020 if MPs reject his deal.