French President Emmanuel Macron told a press conference in Paris with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 16 that the Italian general election – won by two populist Euroskeptic parties – has “deeply shook” the European Union.

“The work awaiting us is important in a European context profoundly shaken by Brexit and the Italian elections,” he was quoted as saying the Italian news agency ANSA.

Macron also said that watching the “extremes rise” in Italy has “allowed us to touch the consequences of a long economic crisis and the migratory challenges to which we were not able to respond”.

The leader of Italy’s League party, Matteo Salvini, who could lead a new government, is known for his xenophobic rhetoric and promises of mass deportations.