EU angst grows as M5S-League talks hit ‘final stretch’
ROME – Efforts to draw up a government contract with Five Star kingpin, Luigi Di Maio, took “big steps forward” on Wednesday, according to the League leader, Matteo Salvini, as nervous speculation intensified across Europe on the foreign policy of a possible eurosceptic M5S-League alliance, political sources said.
Sticking points between the two parties continue to stall a definitive contract as the drawn-out post-election consultations surpass 70 days.
“There are some topics to clarify, some points to be resolved,” admitted Di Maio, adding that government names would follow in due course.
Salvini largely echoed his Five Star counterpart whilst stressing that the end was in sight. “There are some themes on which we are far away and it is clear that we cannot go to Brussels with a government that represents two distant ideas.”
On Tuesday, the EU issued a warning, asking Italy to pay particular attention to migrants and debt. Brussels appealed to a potentially anti-EU, populist coalition to continue on the “European path” and avoid deviations from the EU’s migration control strategy.
A leaked document, reported in the Huffington Post, revealed proposals of Italy abandoning the euro as its currency, alongside requests to the European Central Bank to write off 250 billion euros of Italy’s public debt.
However, the draft was swiftly disregarded in a joint statement from Five Star and the League, who had emerged as winners of March’s inconclusive general election, although this may have done little to deter critics.
“The government contract published by the Huffington Post is an old version that has already been extensively modified during the last two meetings,” the two parties said, specifically alluding to persistent speculation surrounding Italy’s position on ditching the euro.
“The parties have already decided not to challenge the single currency,” their statement read.
“If we succeed,” in coalition negotiations, the buoyed figure of Luigi Di Maio added, “it will be a bomb,” sparking change throughout the country.
The scale of Italy’s potential transformation, envisaged by Five Star and the League, cannot be underestimated, with Salvini underlining that successful discussions would mark an “epochal change” for the country.
Yet, widespread condemnation and apprehension of an M5S-League alliance heavily persists, with the Financial Times offering the latest scathing attack on what would be an “unconventional, inexperienced government.”
The FT referred to the M5S-League coalition as “modern barbarians” on Wednesday morning, citing their economic proposals as a “cause for concern.”
“I say that it is better to be barbarians than slaves,” Salvini responded on Facebook in retaliation.
Opposition parties have also voiced their uneasiness about the ongoing talks, frequently indicating that proposition of Italian President Sergio Mattarella remains the only serious plan.
Maurizio Martina, caretaker leader of the Democratic Party, announced in a press conference at Nazarene that the “M5S and the League can’t waste any more time and must dispose of the permanent electoral campaign, saying clearly if their hypothesis of government has failed.”