Populist leader of La Lega Matteo Salvini lashed out at the European Union this week after requests that Italy implements a €10 billion corrective budget while promoting a eurosceptic candidate for Finance Minister.
Salvini slammed the corrective budget request saying if the political bloc starts issuing diktats then Italy would do the opposite, adding he was opposed to those “who want Italy to be a French or German colony”, Il Giornale reports.
“Europe advises, sometimes threatens, and tells us: you should make a budget of 10 billion euros in taxes. Are they joking?” Salvini said and added: “The last thing that Italy needs is taxes. I think you voted for us to do the exact opposite of what Europe has suggested or imposed with their threats.”
The Lega leader, whose party forms one half of the new populist, anti-establishment coalition along with the Five Star Movement (M5S), also promoted 81-year-old economist Paolo Savona for the position of Finance Minister.
Savona is known as a eurosceptic and has previously, on multiple occasions, called for the Italian government to make solid preparations for a potential Italian exit from the euro currency.
Italian Populists Publish Governing Contract, Slams Failure of ‘Unsustainable’ Immigration https://t.co/7ebwayDTj2
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In the past, both Salvini and M5S have been not only sceptical about the euro currency but earlier this year Salvini said he was in favour of leaving the euro entirely saying: “I remain convinced … that the euro under these conditions was an error, which we will remedy.”
The comments from Salvini are not the first time this week he has countered the statements of officials from other members of the EU.
On Sunday, French Minister for the Economy Bruno le Maire warned that the new Italian government could destabilise the eurozone to which Salvini replied: “Let the French ministers take care of France, we will take care of Italy! And let their souls be at peace: we will do the opposite of what preceding administrations have done.”
The new populist government is also predicted to implement a deportation plan that would see 500,000 illegal migrants sent back to their countries following a prior campaign promise by Salvini – though some have noted an actual target number has not shown up on leaked drafts of the populist government contract.