Italy's Fanciful Coalition Draft Draws Investors' Incredulity-For Now

17 May, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Carlos George
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Right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini condemned "unacceptable interference from the EU" while Luigi Di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement spoke of "continuous attacks. from Eurocrats".

Italy's far-right Northern League, struggling to put together a coalition deal with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, said on Tuesday it was ready to wage war on European Union budget rules and put Italians first.

They had been widely expected to unveil a deal at a meeting with President Sergio Mattarella on Monday, but in the event had to ask for more time after differences emerged over policies and over who should head any new administration.

It could lead to a spate of Eurosceptic, populist parties making promises to clear European Union debt.

In Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU would not be complete without Italy, when asked at a news conference about Italy's role in the EU and its reliability in respecting common rules.

If the agreement is passed, 5-Stars Luigi Di Maio said the details will be distributed over the weekend.

The partnership between the League's Matteo Salvini and Mr. Di Maio would represent a blow to mainstream European political parties across the continent. It has hesitated about signing up to a full-frontal confrontation with Europe over public accounts.

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This will now be something to watch as populism is back on the agenda for markets where the coalition has radical ideas to free up billions of euros for tax cuts and welfare.

They have both vowed to scrap an unpopular pension reform - a move that would punch a 15-billion-euro hole in state coffers.

The two anti-system parties have completed the joint policy programme for a coalition government and have passed the document to leaders for their approval. Salvini said Wednesday that the talks were going well. "We can not go to Brussels with positions that are far apart", he said.

Both M5S and League have a deep history of Euroscepticism and while 5-Star has moderated its position considerably in the a year ago, rowing back on a previous plan to hold a referendum on Italy's membership of the currency bloc, the League still wants to leave the Eurozone as soon as is politically feasible.

For instance, the EU's Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said he hopes Italy's policy on asylum seekers does not change under the new government. Neither Salvini nor Di Maio want the other to get the job, but they have yet to find a mutually acceptable alternative figure.

Mr Di Maio also targeted the UK's Financial Times for a story headlined "Rome opens its gates to the modern barbarians".

They are still discussing how they want to tighten immigration which they denounce in the leaked draft as "unsustainable for Italy".

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