May 20, 2018 16:44 UTC
  • France urges Italy to stick to its EU commitments

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned that if a new populist government in Italy wants to evade its financial commitments regarding the European Union, it would put the entire eurozone economy at risk.

“Everyone must understand in Italy that Italy's future is in Europe and nowhere else, and if this future is to be in Europe, there are rules that must be respected,” said Le Maire on Sunday, adding that “whichever government” was in place in Rome, previous commitments by Italy would remain.

Italy is emerging from months of a political deadlock as the Five Star Movement and the League party are nearing a deal on forming a coalition government.

The two parties have called for a drastic change in Italy’s way of interaction with the EU. That pledge was echoed in a joint policy program published Friday in which the two parties announced they would review “with European partners the economic governance framework” of the EU.

Such a review could include the euro, although both Five Star and he League have both rejected the idea that Italy could leave the European single currency.

Le Maire said Italy’s commitments vis-à-vis the EU went beyond the will of governments to appease their voters through increasing public spending.

“I respect the sovereign decision of the Italian people, but there are commitments which go beyond all of us,” he said, adding, “We will see what decisions are taken by Italian officials. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep these commitments in the long-term to guarantee our common stability.”

The Five Star and the League have yet to agree on who they wish to nominate as Italy’s next prime minister.

Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio, whose party was the largest in inconclusive elections in March by gaining 33 percent of the votes, is highly disliked in European circles over his anti-establishment positions.

The League, the dominant force with 17 percent within a coalition of right-wing parties that won the elections with 37 percent, also campaigns for hardline immigration and security proposals, something that can also anger Brussels.