Italy's populists stir markets with pre-euro nostalgia

Italy's populists stir markets with pre-euro nostalgia

Italy's populists stir markets with pre-euro nostalgia

"Now is the time for legality, security and push-backs", said the League's leader, who has called for changes in European Union treaties.

Italian far-right leader Matteo Salvini launched a broadside at the European Union as he closed in on a coalition government deal with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement on Wednesday, saying that he would rather be a "barbarian than a slave" to Brussels.

In upbeat comments that contained few of the cautionary notes he had used in recent days, Salvini said the 5-Star and League coalition would set a precise timeline for its reforms in issues including taxation, pensions and education.

5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday he hoped a deal could be reached on Wednesday (16 May) that would subsequently be put to supporters of both parties to see if they backed the pact.

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Rome: Italy's two anti-system parties on Wednesday appeared on the verge of clinching a deal to form a coalition government after 2-1/2 months of stalemate, rattling markets with radical ideas to free up billions of euros for tax cuts and welfare. And the two parties have repeatedly said they feel no need to respect European commitments in implementing their programme.

"I'm still sceptical on the euro, there is a lot of headline risk", Saxo bank's Hardy said, adding the worry for lira was that investors will bolt even before they know Erdogan's post- election plans.

Odds plummeted after a leaked document revealed Italy's nationalist Lega and Five Star Movement coalition plot to ditch the euro. "In other words, the eurozone's member countries are democracies and one sees increasing hostility to the euro, which is, unfortunately, spilling over to a broader hostility to the broader European project and liberal values".

The League's support largely is centered in northern Italy, where it backs lower taxes and reining in the central government it considers wasteful.

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While the coalition has ruled out an exit for now, Five Star has a track record of changing its political stripes at nearly any moment if it seems that doing so will boost its popularity. If they fail to do so, fresh elections look inevitable. It is variously anti-establishment, Eurosceptic, anti-immigration, and pro-green.

Ten-year USA government Treasury yields, which are a key driver of global borrowing costs, neared a 7-year high of 3.12 percent as higher oil pointed to higher inflation and followed Wednesday's upbeat US retail sales numbers. In it, the parties said they planned to ask the European Central Bank to forgive 250 billion euros ($296 billion) of Italian debt purchased under the euro zone central bank's quantitative easing (QE) programme.

Salvini and Di Maio have both agreed to drop their own ambitions to be prime minister and are looking for a candidate from outside their parties to enact their program.

"It's very possible that the parties will have to moderate their plans on a lot of these controversial areas once they try to govern", said Flavio Chiapponi, a political scientist at the University of Pavia and author of a book about the 5-Star Movement.

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