Brussels Gives Italy 48 Hours To Comply With EU Spending Rules or Face Punishment

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union Commission has given the populist Italian coalition government 48 hours to address deficit spending concerns or face potential sanctions procedures if they fail to comply with the bloc’s rules.

Populist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is coming of a historic election win in the European elections, commented on the letter from the EU saying, “To the gentlemen of Brussels I say that the time for letters and calls has ended,” Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.

The new letter and deadline come after months of back an forth between the Italian government and the European Commission over deficit spending the government in Italy wish to use to fund various programmes including the citizenship income proposed by the Five Star Movement as a pillar of its policy.

Eventually, the European Commission seemed to back down on the issue in December with Lega MP Claudio Borghi claiming that if the Commission had continued to push toward sanctions, “people in Italy would have come back to ask themselves whether they really want to stay in Europe or not.”

Italy then passed an EU-friendly budget in late December of last year with less funding allocated to the citizenship income policy.

EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici commented on the new potential for sanctions saying, “It is very likely that we will have an exchange of letters,” but denied being in favour of the sanctions process.

Previously Moscovici has previously made several negative comments toward the Italian populist government, labelling Italy a “problem” and claiming to see “little Mussolinis” among the populist movement in Europe.

Following his election victory in the European Parliament elections over the weekend, Lega leader Matteo Salvini promised to confront the European Commission on deficit spending which he would like to increase in order to pay for a programme of tax cuts, including the implementation of a flat tax.

“The EU must take note that the people have voted clearly and plainly against austerity, instability, unemployment, and to review the old parameters,” Salvini said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.