European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on June 5 defended Italy as a pillar of the European Union and a country that deserves respect. The remark comes after rows between the newly formed anti-establishment Italian government and EU commissioners.

“Italy deserves respect and trust,” Juncker told an economic conference in Brussels, adding that “Italy’s place is at the heart of Europe.”

League The leader of the far-right Lega party, Matteo Salvini, previously said that European Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger should resign, accusing him of telling Italians how they should vote.

“Can you imagine such disdain for democracy … he should resign this afternoon,” Salvini said on Facebook, referring to an interview in which Oettinger was quoted as saying he hoped financial markets would be a signal for Italians that they should not vote for populists. Salvini added that Oettinger’s comments were “threatening” and showed a “German desire for hegemony and control”.

Markets sold off Italian assets this week the amid political turmoil. Lega was ready to form a government with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement until their proposed economy minister, Paolo Savona, was blocked by Italy’s President Sergio Matterella.