‘Italy Must Obey’ Juncker Threatens Italian PM as He Scrambles To Hold Failing EU Together
Brussels bigwigs have warned Italy to respect pacts with the eurozone after the nation’s Prime Minister chose to support earthquake sufferers instead of balancing its books under EU regulations.
Matteo Renzi locked horns with chief Eurocrat Jean Claude Juncker after saying he will balance his budget in favour of earthquake hit regions and to support regions coping with an influx of new migrants “whether Brussels officials like it or not”.
Under the EU Stability and Growth pact nations must keep their budget deficits below three per cent, and support a national debt of less than 60 per cent of GDP.
But Italy is being kept under a tight leash after its debt soared to 142.31 per cent of GDP.
Mr Renzi said: "Juncker says I'm being quarrelsome.
"Respecting the rules is one thing, the possibility of those rules obstructing the stability of our children's schools is quite another.
“We will allocate that money outside the EU Stability and Growth Pact, whether Brussels officials like it or not.”
The normally Europhile Mr Renzi has been forced to clash with the EU after anger from Italians over the EU’s refusal to help with their end of the migrant crisis and the economic struggles of the eurozone.
Italians are set to vote on a constitutional referendum next month proposed by Mr Renzi that could become a vote on the PM’s leadership much like the Brexit vote, which saw David Cameron ousted from power.
He added: "If Brussels officials want us to spend less, let them make sure commitments made on migrants are respected.
"They'll see Italy's budget will improve"
The Italian PM has long been criticised by anti-EU voters for his cozy relationship with the bloc, with added pressure coming from the surging rise of the the Five Star party – who oppose the Euro as well as the 28 member European bloc.
It comes after Jean Claude Juncker told the Mr Renzi he “must respect pacts with brussels”.
Mr Juncker is currently laying pressure on several countries who have not diminished their deficits - with Italy currently in the Eurocrat in chief’s crosshairs.
He said: “Italy does not stop attacking the Commission, wrongly and this will not produce the desired results.
“Italy can now spend 19billion more than it would have without the reformed Stability and Flexibility Pact and I think we must wisely consider the cost of earthquakes and refugees.
“But the additional cost is 0.1 per cent of GDP, and Italy, which had promised us a 1.7 per cent deficit in 2017, now proposes 2.4 per cent due to earthquakes and refugees, with an equal cost of 0.1 per cent."