Monday

23rd Sep 2019

Italy on course for speedy approval of budget

  • Italy as depicted on a euro banknote. There are fears that the eurozone crisis could engulf Italy too (Photo: Alessandro Marotta)

Italy's lower house of parliament is set Friday for fast-track approval of a three-year austerity budget amid pressure from both the markets and other EU member states to take swift action.

With senate approval (161 to 135 votes) given on Thursday, the lower house is expected to greenlight the measures designed to eliminate Italy's budget deficit by 2014 through a combination of cuts and taxes amounting to €45bn.

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

Fears that the eurozone crisis would spread to Italy came to the fore last week when markets became nervous that infighting in Rome would see tough budget decision postponed. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi added to the jitters by openly criticising his finance minister Giulio Tremonti.

The markets responded last Friday with a strong sell-off of Italian stocks, prompting EU council president Herman Van Rompuy to call an emergency meeting of top eurozone officials at the beginning of the week to discuss the eurozone's third largest economy.

An inconclusive meeting of EU finance ministers on Greece on the same day has meant that fears of contagion are still alive. Ajai Chopra, the IMF's official in Ireland, on Thursday said that contagion risks were directly responsible for Ireland's credit rating earlier this week being downgraded to junk status by Moody's rating agency.

The markets are waiting for the EU to reach a deal on a second loan to Greece. Eurozone finance ministers promised swift action at their meeting on Monday but gave no details.

Since then the EU has been vacillating over holding an emergency summit. One is expected to be called only when a deal has been agreed, with much dependent on Germany, which is holding out for the involvement of the private sector.

"A pre-requisite [for the summit] is that we can decide on a ready-made, new programme for Greece," said German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, according to Reuters.

She spoke in favour of a quick agreement but added that it must also be a "reasonable" one.

Italy: Euro crisis meeting could strain coalition

Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government is to face a major test at 6pm local time on Monday, when ministers meet to push through austerity measures under pressure from fellow EU leaders.

Berlusconi faces make-or-break confidence vote

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will on Friday confront the political trial of his career: a vote of confidence in parliament on the septuagenarian leader, forced on him as the economic crisis transforms into a political one.

Four EU states want 'automatic' refugee relocation

The interior ministers from France, Germany, Italy, and Malta are meeting on Monday to discuss a new temporary and voluntary agreement for the relocation of asylum seekers, that will prevent EU countries from negotiating case-by-case.

Opinion

Blocking Brexit will boost the far-right

Mainstream British politicians have a responsibility to find ways how to counter the growing far-right extremist threat. Overturning Brexit will only serve to intensify it.

Investigation

EU institution beset by harassment claims

Insiders at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the EU's smallest institution, have described a culture-of-fear environment in the workplace, in the wake of the probationary appointment of its newest secretary-general.

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

News in Brief

  1. Doubt cast on new Maltese inquiry into slain reporter
  2. March by Slovak Catholics seeks abortion ban
  3. 600,000 stranded on holiday as Thomas Cook collapses
  4. Egypt: hundreds of protesters arrested over weekend
  5. Global car industry fears no-deal Brexit shock
  6. France: de-escalation between US and Iran priority
  7. Spain demands UK 'reciprocity' on resident rights
  8. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  2. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  4. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  8. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  10. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  11. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  12. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us