Italy's League chief sees govt programme completed Wednesday

Italy's League chief sees govt programme completed Wednesday

With hard decisions to be taken, the League revived some of its campaign rhetoric, taking aim at European Union budget restraints which impose de facto limits on how much a government can spend to kick-start its economy. Speaking at the event, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani strongly warned Italy against exiting the euro.

"It will not be Sapelli", said the 5-Star source, who asked not to be named.

Italian stocks.FTMIB fell 2.5 percent, set for their biggest one-day drop since the country's inconclusive general election in March.

Earlier in May, Italian President Sergio Mattarella raised the specter of new elections (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/italy-faces-new-national-elections-this-summer-2018-05-08) after a last-ditch effort to persuade the political groups to bridge their differences failed.

The radicals also want the European Central Bank to forgive 250 billion euros of public debt - 11 percent of Italy's massive pile - bought through its quantitative easing mechanism.

This would cut 10 percentage points off Italy's debt/GDP ratio.

Both parties have a history of Euroscepticism.

Italian bonds and stocks were sent sharply lower on Wednesday, with investors spooked by a draft proposal from Italy's two main populist parties to radically change the country's relationship with the rest of Europe. 5-Star has moderated its position considerably in the a year ago, rowing back on a previous plan to hold a referendum on Italy's membership of the currency bloc. Luigi Di Maio, leader of the Five Star Movement, said his party's call for a referendum on Italy's membership of the single currency was a "last resort" to force a relaxation of European Union fiscal rules.

It is still far from clear whether Five Star and the League are prepared to go all the way - and in fact the bluster on the euro may simply be the product of a political compromise in their negotiations that will never translate into policy.

The 5-Star Movement, which bills itself as an alternative to traditional politics, makes its positions and candidates subject to review by supporters in online votes.

During the election campaign Lega promised "the immediate withdrawal of sanctions imposed on Russia" and the rehabilitation of Moscow as a "strategic interlocutor" in crisis areas such as Syria, Libya and Yemen.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas agreed on Friday to use the already available options to circumvent the required EU member states' unanimity when it comes to addressing foreign challenges including the Syrian war.

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