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MARCH 2021

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister: EU Not Negotiating Brexit In ‘Good Faith’

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Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister: EU Not Negotiating Brexit In 'Good Faith'

Matteo Salvini

On July 30th, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said that Italy is “UK’s friend” and wishes for it to leave the EU with a good Brexit deal and stand up to the Union.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini, who is a right-wing Eurosceptic populist and the Federal Secretary of Lega Nord, spoke in favor of Brexit, as British Prime Minister Theresa May is attempting to gather support from the 27 EU members for her Brexit plan outlined in Chequers. He also said regarding Brexit: “I remember the referendum stage as an example of participation and freedom; I hope it can be an opportunity for the British.”

May, in the meantime, has sent members of her cabinet across Europe to find support for her Chequers deal. This is an attempt to bypass the EU Commission by dealing directly with European leaders, however, as reported by the Express she has met with those that support the Union’s position.

Mr. Salvini, however, seems to support the British Prime Minister and has said that Italy would be UK’s friend in negotiations.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Salvini said: “My experience in the European parliament tells me you either impose yourself or they swindle you.” Warning May that she should take a tough stance during negotiations. Mr Salvini also accused the EU of trying to punish the UK for voting to leave the bloc, saying: “There is no objectivity or good faith from the European side.”

Mateo Salvini is also active on social media with his calls to deport illegal immigrants.

Italy, which recently held early elections, set a precedent in which two Eurosceptic parties – the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Lega Nord – won a parliamentary majority between them.

On May 28th, after Italy’s longest post-war period without a government, President Sergio Mattarella decided to veto the populist coalition from taking office and appointed Carlo Cottarelli, a former International Monetary Fund official, as interim prime minister. The President took did so on the grounds that economic stability would be threatened by the parties’ proposed finance minister, Paolo Savona, who refused to renounce his long-standing opposition to the euro.

Neither winning party campaigned a leave of the Eurozone, and Mr. Mattarella did a favor to the right-wing populist parties with his reckless decision. The EU budget commissioner Günther Oettinger showed a similar recklessness after declaring that “the markets will teach the Italians to vote for the right thing.”

Carlo Cottarelli was to propose his lift of ministers on May 29th, however, he only held unofficial consultations on May 289h and 30th. Meanwhile, Salvini and Di Maio announced their willingness to restart the negotiations to form a political government. Despite, Mattarella’s intervention, M5S and Lega Nord, on May 31st, agreed to forming a new government without Paolo Savona as Minister of European Affairs, with Giuseppe Conte as Prime Minister of Italy.

Most of the Italian public still supports EU membership there is still a possibility of Italy – one of the founding members of the Union and the world’s eighth-largest economy could leave the single currency. The current political extremism in Italy has been caused by the Eurozone’s instability due to it being a monetary union that is not matched by fiscal and political union.

The Five Star Movement and the Lega Nord have made grand promises in their campaign. With Five Star promising a monthly basic income of 780 euros for those living in poverty. The Lega Nord, in regard to flat tax, is promising The League also proposes a tax exemption of 3,000 euros per individual in each household, including children, before the flat tax is applied.

In an interview published in Corriere della Sera on July 29th, Italy’s Deputy PM and leader of the 5-Star Movement Luigi Di Maio noted that an Italian referendum to quit the Euro is not in the governing coalition’s contract. His comments come after Beppe Grillo, the Five Star founder’s comments that Italy should have a “plan B” to quit the Eurozone if economic conditions dictated and that Italians should vote in a referendum to see if a majority wanted to quit the currency.

On July 30th, the WSJ reported that Italy is prepared to reject the trade deal between the European Union and Canada. On July 13th, the 5 Star Movement’s leader Luigi di Maio at a meeting of Italian farmers’ association Coldiretti, which has campaigned fiercely against the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) said “The narrative goes that if you look after Italian products on markets, if you try to defend a sector, you are populist, anti-European and anti-West, Other countries do their job. It is we who have to defend Italy and the Italian economy.”

EU data, according to WSJ, showed that Italy is already benefitting from CETA. Italian exports of food and livestock to Canada have fared even better, growing by 12%, while over-all export has gone up by 2% during the eight months of provision effect of the deal.

The right-wing populist government of Italy has made big promises before the election and has made controversial and populist statements since the forming of the government with Giuseppe Conte as Prime Minister, however no actual radical actions have been undertaken.

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