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Senator Bagnai Rumored To Become Italy’s Future Negotiator with the EU

June 11, 2019 (EIRNS)—Italian Senate Finance Committee Chairman Alberto Bagnai is strongly rumored to be appointed Minister for European Affairs, to fill the job left empty by Paolo Savona four months ago. Bagnai is a convinced euro-skeptic; however, he has made clear that the current Italian government neither intends to leave the euro, nor refuses to abide to EU deficit rules.

However, his appointment is a clear signal. As Minister for European Affairs, Bagnai would negotiate with the EU Commission in the next months. In a June 6 article in the Financial Times, Bagnai made it clear that he considers the current rules under the Stability Pact as “catastrophic” and called for eliminating them, going back to a 3% deficit rule, excluding, however, capital investments from the accounting. He also called for a European New Deal.

Bagnai’s ally, economist Antonio Maria Rinaldi, said the EU Commission letter to the Italian government, which has set a 48-hour deadline to have a clarification on budget and deficit figures, “has the flavor of 19th-century gunboat diplomacy.” Nevertheless, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared that Italy wants to avoid a violation proceeding and wants to come to an agreement with the Commission.

This, in a context in which the term of the current Commission term is about to end and negotiations have already started among EU member states for the choice of the next one. Also on the table is the succession of Mario Draghi as European Central Bank president and of Antonio Tajani as president of the European Parliament. Italy aims at getting a “heavy” Commissioner, since it cannot claim either the ECB or the European Parliament presidency again. Rumors give Giancarlo Giorgetti, a Lega member and currently Conte’s chief of staff, as the Italian candidate to get a Commissioner post.

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