Beyond the scaremongering and fake statistics life goes on
The home of the Italian government in Rome
It has taken longer than expected, but the ruling coalition in Italy is on the brink of collapse after members of the Eurosceptic centre — left Five Star Movement (M5S) threatened to withdraw support from Guiseppe Conte’s Democratic Party led coalition. It was always expected that the Italian leftist coalition would collapse as soon as EU fanatic and federalist Conte tried to implement measures seen as involving further surrender of national sovereignty to Brussels. Conte’s proposal involves accepting loans from the the European Central Bank (ECB) to finance the massive welfare and business support costs Italy will face due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. Matteo Salvini, leader of the Eurosceptic, anti — open borders party, Lega is strongly opposed to the aid package.
Five Star Movement (M5S) members are opposed to Prime Minister Conte’s proposal to accept funds from the EU’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The proposal, negotiated by Finance Ministers of EU member states would release 240 billion euros to be available as loans to member states, according to a report in newspaper Il Giornale. Conte previously promised that he would never accept a loan from the ESM.
If a few Five Star representatives were to withdraw support, it would destroy the coalition’s wafer thin majority and force new elections which would amost certainly return Salvini’s Lega, which currently has a comfortable lead in polls, to government. Lega previously led a Eurosceptic coalition with M5S and was set gain an overall majority when that collapsed over differences on immigration The EU blocked elections and brokered the current coalition, the main partners of which have little in common politically.
Senator Giarrusso of M5S made his opposition to Conte’s plan public when he said he expected other party representatives to join him in opposing the bill, which could lead M5S splitting into factions. “If Conte does not keep his word, M5S will have to pull the plug on this government,” Giarrusso said on Friday.
M5S’s leader Vito Crimi assured Giarrusso that both he and Conte prefer the idea of having the EU issue so-called “Corona bonds,” which would share the coronavirus debt burden among all EU member states.
Salvini also expressed opposition to the proposed loans, claiming that ordinary Italians would not benefit from the money, another Il Giornale story claims. Salvini’s party is aligned with Forza Italia, the party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, both would reject the ESM proposal. Should an M5s schism lead to elections the far right group Brothers of Italy are also expected to gain ground. Salvini warned last month that unless a minimum of 100 billion euros is distributed to support and people suffering financial hardship because of the pandemic, it could lead to civil unrest.
Austria, Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands and France have rejected the corona bonds proposal, however, and without their support it is impossible that the the ESM can be avoided.