Wednesday

19th Dec 2018

Italy presents anti-austerity roadmap

  • "The European project is suffering an unparalleled crisis," Renzi's government says (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Engaged in a policy struggle with the European Commission, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi is calling for more flexible fiscal rules, growth policies, a eurozone budget and cost sharing of the migrant crisis.



The demands, which Rome says are "a far-reaching policy agenda and concrete proposals", are included in a nine-page document published on Monday (22 February) by the Italian ministry of economy and finances ahead of a visit to Rome by commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Fiscal rules should prove their adequacy to cope with a challenging economic environment," says the document, entitled A Shared European Policy Strategy for Growth, Jobs, and Stability.

"A framework designed for normal conditions of growth and inflation has proved incapable to tackle effectively the impact of very low nominal growth on potential growth and on debt dynamics," it notes.

"These shortcomings have implications for the measurement of fiscal indicators on which policy recommendations are based and should be addressed. Price developments should be more effectively embedded in fiscal rules," the document adds.

Renzi's governement, which has been asking for EU flexibility in the assessement of member states' budgets, says the commission’s communication on flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact "marked a step forward in improving the policy mix".

"It creates the appropriate incentives for reforms and investment. It strengthens the coordination between structural and fiscal policies triggering a virtuous circle: structural action and investments boost medium-term growth thus supporting consolidation of public finance," it says in the document.

On the migration crisis, Italy, which is a front line country, says that sharing responsibility for the management of EU external borders "would represent a powerful response".

It also calls for a "mutualised funding mechanism" of EU border management, "which could entail issuance of common bonds". Already floated during the eurozone crisis, the idea of launching eurobonds has always been ruled out by Germany.

Again aiming at Germany and the policies pursued so far by the commission, the document states that "risk sharing and mutualisation offer a powerful incentive to abide by the rules and prevent opportunistic behaviour".

Renzi's government also calls for a eurozone budget managed by a eurozone finance minister.

Juncker will meet Renzi and other Italian officials on Friday (26 February) to try to mend relations.

In his new year address, the commission president lashed out at Renzi, accusing him of "vilifying and criticising the commission on every street corner”.

In December, Renzi said that "Europe has to serve all 28 countries, not just one”, aiming at the commission president whom he considers too close to German chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The European project is suffering an unparalleled crisis," the Italian government memo says.

"The policy reaction to the economic recession and large unemployment is often perceived as insufficient by European citizens, which often struggle to perceive the added value of being part of the Union," it says.

Analysis

Renzi plots EU collision course

Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi has stepped up his fiery anti-EU rhetoric. This may boost his support at home, but it may eventually backfire.

Opinion

Future of Europe needs more social investment

The Rome declaration committed to a more social Europe, but the EU's economic governance model is preventing the pledges made in the Italian capital from being truly realised.

EU gives Switzerland another six months for a deal

The EU commission is giving more time to the Swiss government to endorse a deal that would put various sectorial agreements to access the single market under one deal. Nevertheless, after Brexit, the EU has had enough of exceptions.

Greens boycott EU-Morocco vote after lobbying expose

EUobserver has exposed Moroccan lobbying at the European Parliament, prompting a probe to be launched against several MEPs. The Greens have now decided to boycott next week's Morocco trade vote in protest, saying the lobbying investigation must be finished first.

News in Brief

  1. EU repeats threat to US on 'Privacy Shield'
  2. Commission publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plan
  3. EU court slams Latvia for removing ECB member
  4. Financial Times picks Soros as 'Person of the Year'
  5. Italy strikes last-minute deal with EU over budget
  6. UK to unveil new immigration rules ending free movement
  7. Belgian PM resigns five months before elections
  8. EU agree to ban throwaway plastics to reduce marine litter

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us