END OF EU? Italy issues STERN warning over populist surge in elections – 'You'll be gone!'

END OF EU? Italy issues STERN warning over populist surge in elections – 'You'll be gone!'

Deputy prime minister Luigi di Maio said EU fiscal rules have hamstrung the Italian government and worsened the country’s banking crisis. The leade

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Deputy prime minister Luigi di Maio said EU fiscal rules have hamstrung the Italian government and worsened the country’s banking crisis. The leader of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) said and the bloc is quick to send letters pointing out any breaches of regulations, which he insisted favoured stronger EU economies. But Mr di Maio warned the EU the balance of power will be shifted after May’s European elections, German newspaper Die Welt reports.

He said: ”But we do not care. In three or four months this Europe will no longer be, and those letters will stop arriving.”

Italy’s populist has been constantly battling with Brussels since taking power in June.

Rome hopes to implement sweeping changes to the Italian economy but the plans have been rejected by the EU because they smashed the bloc’s deficit reduction rules.

But Italy’s government also blames banking officials at home for the country’s economic woes.

Mr di Maio, who also heads the populist Five Star Movement, said he hoped those running the Italian central bank are not re-elected once their terms expire in May.

And he said those heading up Italian banks Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, which were forced into liquidation in 2017, were responsible for small shareholders losing all of their investment.

He said: “We, who believed in the Banca Popolare di Vincenza, have been lied to.

”By politicians, by the control bodies and the banks themselves.”

Matteo Salvini, who also serves as deputy prime minister and leads the right-wing League, extended the criticism to the stock exchange supervisor Consob.

He warned: “We are in the government, because the competent authorities have not exercised their control functions.

“The boards of Consob and Banca d’Italia have to be cleared completely.”

Tensions with Brussels have soared in further in recent weeks as Italy’s leadership seeks to shift the balance of power through a populist surge at the ballot boxes.

They hope by backing eurosceptic, populist movements in countries like France, Poland, Austria and Hungary, member states traditionally on the fringe of the bloc will have more influence.

Italy’s support for the Gilets Jaunes protest movement in France has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the neighbouring nations.

Mr Di Maio recently expressed his support for the ‘Yellow Vests’ prompting the French government to pull its ambassador out of Rome.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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