Tuesday

25th Apr 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.

Eurogroup makes 'progress' on Greek deal

Eurozone ministers endorsed an agreement in principle between the Greek government and its creditors over a new package of reforms. But talks on fiscal targets and debt could still block a final agreement.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Investigation

MEPs oppose EU agency to prevent Dieselgate II

The European Parliament said on Tuesday that there should be more EU oversight on how cars are approved, but stopped short of calling for an independent EU agency.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  2. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan
  3. Ivanka Trump to meet Merkel at Berlin women's conference
  4. Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in 20 years
  5. Nord Stream 2 to get €4.8bn from European energy firms
  6. Defeated Fillon retires from French politics
  7. Hollande: Vote Macron to avoid 'risk' for France
  8. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children