Monday, 20 August, 2018


Odds slashed for Italy to be next country to leave EU

Italy's populist government is still a work in progress Odds slashed for Italy to be next country to leave EU
Bennie Garza | 17 May, 2018, 17:55

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday that "perhaps we'll be able to wrap up the contract of government" on Wednesday.

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.

The dollar added to recent gains against a basket of currencies on Wednesday to touch a five-month high, supported by relatively robust USA economic data in recent days, while the euro was hit by reports that a likely future Italian government would seek debt forgiveness from European creditors. This is the biggest one-day rise since July 2017, Reuters data shows.

The opposition Democrats have warned that the League's vow to drastically lower taxes to a flat 15-percent rate and the 5-Stars' promise of subsidies to the poor will drastically drive up government borrowing.

After months of drift and political uncertainty, Italy looks set to anoint its first government dominated by populist and anti-immigrant parties, setting Rome on a collision course with the European Union powers that be in Brussels over plans to cut taxes, increase spending, reconsider the euro currency and dramatically curb the flow of refugees arriving on the country's shores from northern Africa.

Euro zone inflation slowed in April, European statistics agency Eurostat said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier flash estimate and adding to the headache of European Central Bank policy makers seeking to phase out monetary stimulus. Salvini dismissed concerns about the widening gap, or spread, between Italy's benchmark bonds and safer German ones as a sign the two potential partners were on the right track.

Some analysts say the market remains complacent about the possibility of a rising dollar, which also notched up a four-month high against the Japanese yen on Thursday as 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR approached their highest since 2011.

Brussels has called on the next Italian government, which is likely to be formed by Eurosceptic parties, to remain on the "European path" and not tear up the EU's strategy for controlling migration.

Fed up with the country's long, seemingly irreversible economic decline, persistent high unemployment and a refugee and migrant crisis, Italy's voters turned on the political centre that has governed (or failed to govern) Italy since the 1980s. He declined to comment on the outcome of the coalition talks.

President Sergio Mattarella, who has repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining a strong, pro-European stance, may also be dismayed at any deal the League and 5-Star come up with.

Both parties have a history of Euroscepticism.

The two party leaders also launched an attack on European Union officials, accusing them of interfering in the talks process. They also taunted Brussels by warning that if European Union capitals were concerned, "then we're doing something right".

The 5-Star Movement, founded less than a decade ago by an Italian comedian as an experiment in direct democracy in defiance of Italy's traditional parties, says any coalition deal must pass muster with its supporters.

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