World Economy

France Warns Italy Against Breaking EU Commitments

Bruno Le MaireBruno Le Maire

The stability of the eurozone will be at stake if a populist new government in Italy fails to keep its financial commitments, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned Sunday.

“If the new government takes the risk of not respecting its commitments on debt and the deficit, but also the clean-up of the banks, the financial stability of the eurozone will be threatened,” Le Maire told CNEWS television, AFP reported.

“Everyone must understand in Italy that Italy’s future is in Europe and nowhere else, and if this future is to be in Europe, there are rules that must be respected,” he added. Le Maire said previous commitments by Italy would remain “whichever government” was in place.

Brussels is anxious that Italy continues with efforts to bring down its massive debts in line with EU rules, wary that a new government in Rome will seek to increase public spending. The EU forecasts that Italian public debt will remain 130% above its GDP this year—more than double the bloc’s 60% ceiling.

“I respect the sovereign decision of the Italian people, but there are commitments which go beyond all of us,” Le Maire said. “We will see what decisions are taken by Italian officials. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep these commitments in the long-term to guarantee our common stability.”

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League party, which are edging towards forming a government, called for deep changes in Italy’s relations with the EU in a joint policy program published Friday.

Italy has been in political deadlock since inconclusive elections in March.

While an exit from the single currency—mooted in leaked drafts of the document—is no longer proposed, the document announced the parties’ intention to review “with European partners the economic governance framework” of the EU, including the euro.

The parties want a monetary union that is “appropriate for the current geopolitical and economic imbalances and consistent with the objectives of the economic union,” it said.

The joint policy platform also includes a number of manifesto promises from the League, including hardline immigration and security proposals.

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