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Berlusconi ally confirms anti-euro stance, questions EU budget rules

Europe
23.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - A key ally of former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi reaffirmed on Tuesday his opposition to the euro and European Union rules, exposing divisions in the conservative alliance that is the favourite to win upcoming elections.

"Unlike others, we do not change ideas according to convenience, elections or opinion polls: the euro was, is and remains a mistaken experiment that hurt Italian jobs and growth," Matteo Salvini of the far-right Northern League party said in Rome.

A day earlier, Berlusconi sought to reassure EU audiences with a visit to Brussels, in which he stressed his europhile credentials and gave assurances that Italy would comply with EU deficit rules, even if they may be "questionable."

Pressed on his ally‘s remarks, Salvini retorted that "if there are [EU] budget constraints, directives, regulations which penalize Italian households and businesses, for us those regulations do not exist."

He spoke to reporters from the Italian parliament as he announced that Alberto Bagnai, an economist who has written a book that predicts the collapse of the euro, will run for the League in the March 4 general elections.

Salvini and Berlusconi‘s conservative bloc have nearly 40 per cent of votes and is close to a parliamentary majority, according to opinion polls. But tensions between the two leaders have led many analysts to question whether their alliance can last.

In a hung parliament scenario, Berlusconi could break ranks with Salvini and seek a grand coalition deal with the ruling Democratic Party (PD) of Matteo Renzi, according to widespread rumours which have been denied by interested parties.

 

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