ROME (Sputnik) — Maroni called on Thursday for lifting of anti-Russia sanctions and intensification of relations between the countries.
"It is necessary to lift sanctions that due to expire on July 31, 2017. It is necessary to hold [snap] elections in June and win them, then we will lift the sanctions," Maroni, a member of the opposition Lega Nord party, said at the "Russia–Italy: the Art of Innovation" seminar in Milan.
Maroni stressed that Italy lost about $4.3 billion due to sanctions, while Lombardy, GDP of which amounted for 20 percent of total country's GDP, lost even more money.
"The problem lies not only in economic damages, but in the market share, which is relentlessly shrinking," Maroni added.
He pointed out that relations with Russia should be intensified, praising Moscow's role in combating terrorism.
A number of Italian regions, namely Lombardy, Liguria, and Veneto called for lifting restrictive measures imposed on Russia.
In July 2016, the Lombardy Regional Council supported a resolution, initiated by the Lega Nord party, under which Crimea was recognized as a territory of Russia. The resolution called on the Italian government to resume cooperation with Russia, condemn the EU policy regarding Crimea and lift anti-Russia sanctions.