Posted by: 14-11-2018, 07:12
"The worst dream of Brussels": Trump will help Italy to destroy the European Union?
In one of the last interviews, the ex-president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, with regret admitted that today's European Union is not the organization that he had sought to join ten years earlier. The statement is not sensational, but rather revealing: demonstrating its inability to cope with internal and external threats, Brussels loses its most loyal “fans”. The authorities of the advanced European countries also react to the weakness of the EU: Italy is becoming the new “hot spot” of the continent.
Italy has long been spoken of as the “weak link” of the eurozone. Not surprisingly, social and economic instability in 2018 led to an unprecedented political crisis.
In the March elections in Italy, none of the parties won a parliamentary majority, so the leaders of the Five Star Movement Luigi Di Mayo and the League of the North Matteo Salvini had to agree on a coalition government. Negotiations moved from bad to worse. So badly that President Sergio Mattarella at one point announced the formation of his own technical government.
This news had a sobering effect on Salvini and Di Maio: they sat down again at the negotiating table and nominated Giuseppe Conte for the post of prime minister. But it was not possible to approve the list of ministers anyway. The stumbling block was the figure of Euroskeptic Paolo Savona, who both Salvini and Di Mayo wanted to see as Minister of Economy. But the president was totally against it.
This is understandable: the appointment of Savona, who calls the single European currency "German shackles for Italy", threatened a serious aggravation of relations with the EU. The President of Italy ordered to look for another candidate, in response, Salvini and Di Mayo accused him of treason, and the helpless Conte on May 27 refused the mandate to form a government.
The 64-year-old economist Carlo Cottarelli also could not cope with this task, and then Materell re-appointed Prime Minister Conte. Tension by that time began to decline: the scandalous Savona was entrusted with another position, Salvini headed the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Di Mayo became Minister of Economic Development, Labor and Social Policy. The president agreed.
Thus ended an unprecedented domestic political crisis, but the crisis in relations between Rome and Brussels was just beginning. Until now, the intractable leaders of the Five Star Movement and the League of the North were unanimous in the opinion that the main cause of instability in Italy is the wrong policy of the European Union.
More recently, Salvini once again reminded about this, without hesitating to get personal: “The enemies of Europe are those who are locked up in Brussels. This [European Commission President Jean-Claude] Juncker and [European Commissioner for Economic and Social Affairs Pierre] Moscovises brought fear and lack of job security to Europe. ” It was their austerity policy, according to Salvini, that led to the impoverishment of Italy and the increase in its public debt.
Salvini is known for his harsh statements. While few European politicians allow themselves to doubt the territorial identity of the Crimea, the leader of the League of the North openly recognizes the peninsula as part of the Russian Federation.
Conte and Di Mayo are more cautious, but they are also in favor of lifting anti-Russian sanctions, and the rhetoric of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Italy on this issue is becoming increasingly decisive. At a meeting with Italian entrepreneurs in Russia, he not only criticized the position of Brussels, but also promised to do everything possible so that the sanctions would be lifted.
That is, the entire Italian government, as they say, "has sold itself to the Kremlin." Case out of the ordinary.
However, the real potential of the Italian government was at first questioned by the Western press. The leaders of the Five Star Movement and the League of the North were called populists, unable to compete with Brussels. It’s not at all customary to speak about Giuseppe Conte as an independent figure.
But the Salvini coalition - Di Mayo wiped his nose to the critics. As it turned out, the new government has really serious intentions.
Today, the main “battlefield” between Rome and Brussels is the draft Italian budget for 2019. Both ruling parties want to approve it with a deficit of more than 2% of GDP, which meets EU requirements (according to the norms of the Stability and Growth Pact, the budget deficit of the EU member states should not exceed 3%).
But all the same, it seemed to Brussels that Salvini and Di Mayo had gone too far: a country with such a huge public debt should supposedly set the deficit bar at 2%, preferably even less. Otherwise, the markets will show distrust of Italy, and this is fraught with a further increase in public debt.
The dispute over the draft budget is gradually coming to a standstill. On October 17, the European Commission expectedly rejected the option of a deficit of 2.4% of GDP proposed by the Italian government.
While Rome was waiting for an official letter from European Commissioner Pierre Moscovis, Luigi Di Mayo noted that his team has “no plan B”: the exit strategy from the crisis implies just such a framework.
“Forecasts are not made by themselves; we are convinced that there will be growth rates, and with this growth we will be able to repay the public debt and reduce the budget deficit, the leader of the Five Stars Movement said. - We expected that this maneuver did not like Brussels; Now the stage of negotiations with the European Commission begins, but it should be clear that we will not back down. ”
Another sore point in relations between Italy and the European Union is the migration crisis. The authorities of the country became the object of criticism when in June of this year they refused to accept refugees from the ship Aquarius. In response to the attacks, Salvini said that the ships of non-governmental organizations, on board which may be migrants, and henceforth will not enter the Italian ports.
In the same month, the leaders of the EU countries agreed on joint actions in the field of migration management, and they did it under pressure from Giuseppe Conte. Without considering the issue of refugees, the Italian Prime Minister refused to sign the summit’s final documents.
True, the leaders of the united Europe did not comply with the agreements reached. About this October 16, Giuseppe Conte said during a speech in the Senate.
The government’s response will be low-key, but tough: until the decisions of the June summit are implemented, Italy does not intend to help partners resettle refugees. In the country itself, meanwhile, they had already managed to tighten migration legislation.
The severity of the situation adds to the fact that the obstinate Italian authorities on the world stage do not feel marginalized at all.
In addition to potential allies like the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the German Alternatives for Germany, the Salvini-Di Mayo coalition has already made friends with the leader of the French National Front Marine Le Pen. Together with her, the Italian Foreign Minister is going to make a “revolution of common sense” on the continent after winning the European Parliament election.
But even more fear of Eurocentrists is the potential support that Rome may have in the fight against Brussels from the President of the United States of America.
Donald Trump is often accused of having much in common with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hungarian “dictator” Viktor Orban, and Italian populists. Anyway, during a personal meeting, Giuseppe Conte literally charmed the American leader. Italian Il Fatto Quotidiano ventured to suggest that the main result of their intercourse was the agreement on unification against Emmanuel Macron, which was not suddenly gracious to Trump.
The former adviser to the president of the United States, Steve Bannon, who set out to unite all European "populists" on the eve of the elections to the European Parliament, is also counting on Rome. In September, he had already been to Italy and called Matteo Salvini as “the great world leader who can be compared to Trump”.
Let’s leave aside the question of whether the American president wants to ruin the EU, but he is probably considering Italy as a guide to his interests in Europe.
In Europe itself, it seems seriously concerned about this challenge. Austrian Contra Magazine writes that Italy declared war on the European Union. Its collapse does not seem to journalists of the publication a surrealistic scenario. According to them, Salvini and Di Mayo intend to expose Brussels as a "villain" in order to convince their fellow citizens to follow in the footsteps of the British.
And the European Union will not survive a break with Italy, Jean-Claude Juncker warned the other day. That is, the president of the European Commission has concerns about this. In the light of his statement, it becomes clear that the situation with Italy is not ordinary "roughness" in the work of the EU.
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