Di Maio says EU election will shake up politics, help Italy

European parliamentary elections in May will shake up the political landscape and help Italy in its budget battles with Brussels, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday.

The European Commission last month rejected Italy’s 2019 budget, saying it flouted a commitment to lower the deficit and did not guarantee a reduction in the debt, the second highest in the euro zone as a proportion of GDP. [nL8N1X42NA]

Italy’s coalition, comprising the anti-establishment 5-Star-Movement and far-right League, has refused to change the main points of the budget, saying it will boost the economy via tax cuts, a lower retirement age and higher welfare spending.

Di Maio told Corriere della Sera daily he was confident that Rome and Brussels could avoid a collision, predicting that the Commission would take a different approach after May’s elections which might boost anti-austerity parties.

“…citizens will vote in the European elections and will cause a big shake up,” said Di Maio, who is also leader of the 5-Star. “We are ready to discuss things around a table, but they cannot ask us to massacre Italians.”

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