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Italy's 5-Star chief says policy agenda with League nearly completed

Italy's 5-Star chief says policy agenda with League nearly completed

"From Europe we have the umpteenth unacceptable interference (...); now is the time for legality, security and push-backs", Salvini said.

"The more they insult us, the more they threaten us, the more they blackmail us, the more desire I have to embark on this challenge", he said.

The two anti-system parties have completed the joint policy programme for a coalition government and have passed the document to leaders for their approval.

There was still no word on the thorny issue of who would be prime minister.

5-Star has adopted a softer line on migration and Salvini said on Monday this was another area of discord between the two sides.

The euro fell as much as half a percent to $1.1783 EUR=, its lowest since late December, after reports surfaced that Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and far-right League plan to ask the European Central Bank to forgive 250 billion euros of debt.

The U.S. dollar rallied further to a five-month high on Wednesday, supported by relatively robust U.S. economic data in recent days, while Italy's borrowing costs jumped and its stocks slid on concerns linked to economic plans from the country's potential coalition government.

FILE - 5-Star Movement's leader Luigi Di Maio arrives for a press conference on the preliminary election results, in Rome, March 5, 2018. Both parties have made clear they intend to fight the EU's Stability Pact.

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Italian stocks tumbled 2.3 percent while Italy's 10-year bond yield jumped to 2.096 percent.

The League has promised to introduce a flat tax rate of 15%, which would tax revenues by some 80 billion euros (RM376 billion) per year, while 5-Star has pledged new welfare payments for the poor costed at around 17 billion euros (RM80 billion).

Italy has the second highest public debt in the eurozone. The bloc's budget rules require it to cut the debt pile aggressively under the "fiscal compact", which both parties want scrapped.

"The combination of higher oil prices, higher dollar and stronger yields are starting to potentially weigh on investor sentiment", said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for wealth management division of Northern Trust in Chicago.

Mr Di Maio also targeted the UK's Financial Times for a story headlined "Rome opens its gates to the modern barbarians". But some of the details will alarm the European Union.

The euro slumped to a five-month low on Wednesday after reports that a possible future Italian government would seek debt forgiveness from European creditors and as the dollar resumed its month-long and powerful rally. He declined to comment on the outcome of the coalition talks.

Both M5S and League have a deep history of Euroscepticism and while 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, the League still wants to leave the Eurozone as soon as is politically feasible. 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. Their plans could also challenge European Union rules.


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