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Brussels warned to brace for eurozone chaos as Italy eyes ‘dangerous’ snap election

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Italy is the third-strongest economic power in the eurozone, with only Germany and France coming ahead. But the European Union founding member has struggled to recover from the government debt crisis of 2008 and a new snap election could cause further troubles to both Rome and Brussels. Speaking to France 24, an Italian affairs expert said: “There’s a large part of the country pushing for new elections, especially entrepreneurs, and large portions of voters in the north of the country, and Matteo Salvini is representing this part.

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We are facing an economic instability moment and going for a snap election just a year and a half after the last one – something similar occurred in Spain between 2015 and 2016 – can be dangerous for our economy.

“And we should not take for granted it will solve political problems and political instability.”

Deputy Prime Minister pushed the country into a political crisis in early August as he tabled a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte after a break with coalition partners in the Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S). 

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Following two weeks of uncertainty, Prime Minister Conte delivered a speech in the Senate to defend his position on Tuesday but later announced he would offer his resignations to Italian President Sergio Mattarella

President Mattarella, who is head of state, requested that the former Prime Minister and the rest of the government stay on in a caretaker role, while he works in the coming days to determine whether to call new elections.

In a tactical ploy, Lega had earlier withdrew its no-confidence motion on Tuesday, but Mr Conte told the Senate the move was meaningless.

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Since before the economic crisis ten years ago, Italy has suffered from stagnant growth and struggling youth employment, issues which have left politicians to make difficult decisions on how to resolve the problem.

Rome predicted a 1 percent expansion in its latest forecasts for 2019 – a figure that was considered too optimistic by most economists as the Italian eurosceptic government embarked on free-spending plans with little impact on growth.

The report claimed Italy is experiencing “a clear brain drain” as thousands of high-skilled workers left the country over the last decade without being replaced by immigrants with similar education levels.

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The document said Italy could see a fall of more than 10 percent in its labour force should the trend be allowed to continue.

The scenario would worsen the sustainability of Rome’s large debt, which stands at 130 percent of output, as it would contribute to the ageing of its population and to higher pension costs, the report concluded.

Mr Salvini railed against Brussels on numerous occasions, lashing out against European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in April, when he said: “Italians won’t take lessons from Mr Juncker.

“Europe has certainly not helped Italy in recent years, on the contrary, it has damaged Italy.”

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Early elections would pull the plug on Parliament three years ahead of schedule, perhaps as soon as late October – meaning the election campaign would coincide with the last few days of Britain’s membership of the EU, spelling a tense time for Brussels.

Supporters of 5SM demonstrated outside the Senate against Mr Salvini after Mr Conte’s announcement, with Lega colleague William De Vecchis pictured aiming a provocative gesture in their direction.

During Mr Conte’s speech, the deputy Prime Minister was spotted repeatedly kissing a rosary he slipped out of his pocket right after the former ally rebuked him for associating “political slogans with religious symbols”.

Pressing for elections as soon as possible, Mr Salvini said: “I don’t fear Italians’ judgment.”

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Brussels warned to brace for eurozone chaos as Italy eyes ‘dangerous’ snap election

Italy is the third-strongest economic power in the eurozone, with only Germany and France coming ahead. But the European Union founding member has struggled to recover from the government debt crisis of 2008 and a new snap election could cause further troubles to both Rome and Brussels.

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