Markus Ferber said the EU Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund may have to ‘march into Rome’ if the 5-Star Movement and League parties push ahead with their proposed programme of tax cuts and spending rises. The two parties, which are the largest in Italy, have been trying to form a populist government but have so far been blocked by President Sergio Mattarella over their choice of a deeply Eurosceptic finance minister.

 

The parties campaigned on policies of a universal income for Italy’s poorest and a flat tax rate of 15 per cent, which would cost the government an estimated total of £85billion per year. If the moves go ahead they raise Italy’s debt level way above limits the country agreed to as part of its Eurozone membership.

 

Asked about the crisis on Wednesday, Mr Ferber said the worst outcome would be that Italy goes bankrupt. ‘Then the Troika would have to march into Rome and take over the Treasury,’ he told German broadcaster ZDF. The same Troika bailed out Greece during the country’s financial crisis between 2009 and 2016 in return for swingeing public sector spending cuts.

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