'Little Mussolinis': EU chief angers Italy with comment on rise of far right
European Union 'Little Mussolinis': EU chief angers Italy with comment on rise of far right
Pierre Moscovici, EU economics commissioner, told to âwash his mouth outâ by Italyâs deputy PM Matteo Salvini
The EUâs top economic of ficial has voiced fears that âlittle Mussolinisâ might be emerging in Europe, drawing a furious response from Italyâs far-right interior minister who accused him of insulting his country and Italians.
Pierre Moscovici, a Frenchman who is the European Unionâs economics affairs commissioner, said the current political situation, with populist, far-right forces on the rise in many nations, resembled the 1930s when Germanyâs Adolf Hitler and Italian fascist chief Benito Mussolini were in power.Real story of Sweden's election was not about march of the far right Read more
âFortunately there is no sound of jackboots, there is no Hitler, (but maybe there are) small Mussolinis. That remains to be seen,â he told reporters in Paris, speaking in a jocular fashion.
Moscovici, a former French finance minister, mentioned no names, but Matteo Salvini, who is a deputy prime minister and heads Italyâs anti-immigrant League, took it persona lly.
âHe should wash his mouth out before insulting Italy, the Italians and their legitimate government,â Salvini said in a statement released by his office in Rome.
Salvini took advantage of the spat to set out once again his grievances with France, which he accuses of not doing enough to help deal with migrants from Africa and of having plunged Libya into chaos by helping to oust former strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
âEU commissioner Moscovici, instead of censuring his France that rejects immigrants ... has bombed Libya and has broken European (budget) parameters, attacks Italy and talks about âmany little Mussoliniâ around Europe,â Salvini said.MEPs to challenge OrbÃ¡n over rule of law in Hungary Read more
In other comments at the Paris event, Moscovici said Italy needed to cut wasteful spending and prioritise investment and infrastructure spending that will help stimulate growth and productivity.
âItâs in Italyâ s interest to reduce its very high public debt,â Moscovici said. âIt would be a lie to think one can invest more with a higher deficit. If that happens, you end up with more debt and less capacity to invest.â
Italy is preparing its 2019 budget, a process that has heightened tensions within the governing coalition, which comprises Salviniâs League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
Yields on Italian bonds have risen sharply, reflecting investor concerns about the stability of Italyâs finances.
Moscovici said it was critical for Rome to come up with a workable budget. âThe Italian budget needs to be credible, credible at a nominal level but also credible in terms of the structural reforms that are required,â he said. âThere needs to be a significant effort on the structural side.â
Moscovici added that he was working closely with Italyâs finance minister in what he described as a âconstructive climateâ and said he hoped that would continue.Topics
- European Union
- Matteo Salvini
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