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    Italy-EU Debt Row Is a 'Theatre': Political Commentator Suggests a Reason Behind Economic Spat

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    The EU could take disciplinary action against Italy over its failure to respect European Union spending rules. The European Commission claims that Italy's public debt stood at more than 130 percent of GDP which exceeds the 60 percent limit which EU rules require.

    Sputnik has discussed the issue with author and political commentator Nikola Mirkovic.

    Sputnik: Tell us about Italy's spending crisis at the moment?

    Nikola Mirkovic: Yeah. So Italy has been pinpointed by the European Union Economics Commissioner, on its debt. It says that Italy has too much debt.

    If you take a look at the convergence criteria of the European Union to belong to the euro. And they have just a threatened Italy open an 'Excessive Deficit Procedure' against Italy because of this, this spiraling debt.

    Sputnik: And this has been progressing for the past few days. Even on Monday, I believe the Italian Prime Minister warned that he would quit the EU. Do you think that's a threat that holds any water?

    Nikola Mirkovic: Well, I think that on both sides, it's there's a lot of hot air on both sides. Because it's a threat and there could be a financial, I would say fine. A strong fine, an important fine to be paid by Italy. And that's a threat on the side of the European Union.

    And on the Italian side, Rome is saying 'Well, if that's the case, and they will either European Union" I think that on both sides, there's something theatrical in the discussion.

    This debt is not something new, that most of the European Union countries are in debt today. And even those who are using the Euro: Belgium, Greece, Portugal, France, and even last year Germany was a bit above the normal ratio that they were supposed to have for the convergence criteria.

    So I think this is something just theatrically, we must bear in mind that the current government in Italy today is a Eurosceptic government and it's no surprise to anybody to say that maybe the Di Maio and Salvini, from Italy are not the best friends with Moscovici and Junker in Brussels.

    So I think there is definitely a showdown.

    But I think that this will finish off with a discussion between both parties and of probably find some sort of agreement, which will not settle the debt but which will make it both sides look as if they had to have won this showdown.

    Sputnik: And the EU is a large organization, with these disciplinary powers that really affected the Greece economy, and it's still affecting the Greek economy going forward issues, should the EU have these kind of disciplinary powers?

    Nikola Mirkovic: Well, there's two things, all of the European countries voted to enter the European Union. And they knew this when they were going to enter and they knew that they had this power.

    Italian Deputy Prime Minister and leader of far-right League party Matteo Salvini speaks during his European Parliament election night event in Milan, Italy, May 27, 2019
    © REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane
    The only thing is: how are the EU going to implement these powers? The EU doesn't have bailiffs, it doesn't have an army, it doesn't have its own police. It's it's kind of difficult. And as I said, just before the convergence criteria, are not respected by a lot of countries today, and we haven't seen the EU force these countries to respect them.

    I think there's a lot of red tape, and I think it is especially shows that there is a big discrepancy between what the EU, I would say, technocrats want to do and what they planned decades ago and what's going on today.

    If we look at Greece, if we look at Italy, if we look at Spain, and even today, France, a lot of the countries are saying that we do not want any more of these powers from Brussels, we want to get our sovereignty back. We think that this is not working.

    If you look at the EU, the Eurozone today, it's one of the weakest in the world and what has been brought to you today? Very high unemployment rates, fragility on the markets and then a lot of the countries in where we don't want that anymore.

    And that's why there is this tug of war between Brussels and Italy now because Italy is at, I would say, forefront, the spearhead of the anti EU movement in Europe today, now that the UK is on the leave and Brussels wants to quell that, that movement in Italy and I think that's why they're discussing this right now because they are afraid in Brussels that this anti EU movement will spread because a lot of people are just sick and tired of Brussels and these rules and these laws which are not bringing satisfaction to the peoples of Europe.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nikola Mirkovic and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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