Italy's populist coalition plans spark social media satire

18 May, 2018, 09:36 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Bloomberg’s John Follain reports on the talks between Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio and League chief Matteo Salvini

The Italian stock market and treasury bonds fell after a draft proposal from Italy's two main populist parties outlined a plan to change radically the country's relationship with the rest of Europe, MarketWatch reports.

Di Maio said earlier in that all outstanding matters had been settled in talks with Matteo Salvini, the leader of the nationalist and eurosceptic League although the issue of their joint prime ministerial candidate was still being debated.

Di Maio said that any accord would be put to party supporters for online approval and full details would be available for their perusal by the weekend.

Italy, along with Greece, has borne the brunt of the migration crisis, while other European Union countries such. If formed, the government will then look to battle the European Union establishment.

Di Maio's 5-Star Movement is Parliament's single biggest party, after winning some 32 percent in the March 4 election.

Italy's 10-year bond yield jumped almost 19 basis points to 2.13 percent, its highest level since early March and the biggest one-day rise since March 2017, while Italian bluechip stocks fell 2.5 percent.

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The opposition Democrats, who controlled the outgoing government, warn that the League's vow to drastically lower taxes to a flat 15-percent rate, and the 5-Star's promise to give government subsidies to low-income Italians will spook financial markets and drastically drive up government borrowing costs. The bloc's budget rules require it to cut the debt pile aggressively under the "fiscal compact", which both parties want scrapped.

The gap between Italian benchmark bond yields and the safer German equivalent reached its widest in seven weeks last week on news that a deal was at hand, but it had narrowed again by Friday and shows no sign of getting out of hand.

"The spread is going up - do you remember the spread?" he said in a live.

European Union leaders meeting in Sofia on Wednesday are likely to be concerned about the rhetoric coming from the parties that could form a new Italian government as early as next week.

Plans by Italy's rightwing League party and the populist Five Star Movement to "rethink" European Union (EU) fiscal constraints and oppose worldwide trade treaties drove Italy's borrowing costs up Thursday.

"We'll need to cope together with the European challenges as we do with other EU leaders, not all of them are flawless", one of the EU officials said.

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Moments earlier, a 5-Star source had said the programme had been substantially agreed and that it contained no reference to a possible exit from the euro or "anything that could cause any concern regarding Italy's euro membership". "The government is not [yet] formed, we have to wait and see".

Both parties have a history of Euroscepticism. However the League still wants to leave the euro zone as soon as is politically feasible.

The comments are taking a page out of U.S. President Donald Trump's book and rallying cry "America First".

President Sergio Mattarella, who has repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining a strong, pro-European stance, may also be dismayed.

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