European Union officials are deliberately upsetting financial markets by making negative comments about Italy’s budget plans, according to Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio.
“Some European institutions are playing… at creating terrorism on the markets,” he said on October 1.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Di Maio, who is the head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, specifically took aim at European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. He said Moscovici had deliberately “upset the markets” with earlier comments on Italy.
In a separate report, the Associated Press (AP) noted that Eurozone nations warned Italy on October 1 that 2019 budget proposals would pile more debt on its own citizens and skirt the rules of good fiscal housekeeping among the 19 nations sharing the euro.
As reported last week, Italy’s two populist ruling parties announced they would increase spending in 2019, pushing the budget deficit out to 2.4% of GDP, past a 1.6% limit the government had earlier said they would observe.
While still below the EU limit of 3%, it breaks with Italy’s recent efforts to reduce its debts and sets up a clash with the country’s European partners.
“I cannot see how these figures can be compatible with our rules,” said EU Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici as he joined a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on October 1.
He said Italy’s spending plans for the next three years were “a very significant deviation from the commitment which had been taken”.
In a separate report, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted that France’s finance minister also warned Italy.
“I just want to make very clear that there are rules and the rules are the same for every state because our futures are linked,” Bruno Le Maire told reporters ahead of the Eurozone meeting on October 1.
In turn, Mario Centeno, head of the Eurogroup and Portuguese finance minister, said: “Italy is on everybody’s mind. I know that we all have questions about it and that we are expecting answers”.