European Commission moves to sanction Italy

The European Commission has today initiated the Excessive Deficit Procedure against Italy, pending approval from the Council of the EU. The move is the latest step in a months long feud between Brussels and the populist Italian government over the budget plans of the Salvini-5 Star coalition.

Both 5 Star and Salvini have hit back, with 5 Star’s MEP delegation accusing the Commission of “once again applying double standards… Italy is the only country at risk of being sanctioned while others — like Germany and The Netherlands — have been ignoring EU parameters with their enormous surpluses.”

“We don’t want other [countries’] money, we just want to invest in jobs and growth” added Salvini.

The move will be widely seen as illegitimate given the wild popularity of the Italian government in general and Matteo Salvini in particular.

Italy went to the polls along with the rest of the EU28 just two weeks ago and handed a thumping victory to Lega, who won over nine million votes, 34% of the poll, and 29 MEPs – coming joint-top across the entire continent along with the UK’s Brexit Party. A big dust up with European technocrats is likely to only improve his poll ratings further.