Rome/Berlin/Amsterdam — Italy has been picking public fights with France and Germany. In Davos, its government got a dressing down from European colleagues. Many did not take kindly to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s attack on Brussels and its institutions from the podium at the World Economic Forum (WEF), especially after his deputies took turns at making barbed comments about Italy’s closest trading partners. EU’s commissioner for economic affairs Pierre Moscovici had this to say to Italy’s ruling coalition: “Changing Europe is one thing, destroying Europe is another. And that’s the difference between reform and populism, between pro-Europeanism and nationalism.” Italy seems to be on a campaign footing, which helps explain the ratcheting up of anti-EU rhetoric that is straight out of the populist playbook. Its ruling coalition has an anti-establishment and an anti-immigration party that are increasingly at odds, jostling for the upper hand and possibly seeking to engineer early el...

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