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Italy’s populists, rightwingers want Italexit and ECB to cancel billions in debt

Italy’s populists, rightwingers want Italexit and ECB to cancel billions in debt

ROME,  (Xinhua) — The populist Five Star Movement and the rightwing League party are working on a joint government program that includes a possible exit from the eurozone and asking the European Central Bank (ECB) to cancel billions in Italian public debt, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday evening, posting the 39-page draft document on its website.

The two parties were the top vote-getters in Italy’s last general election and have been in government-formation talks for almost a week.

“European economic governance … based on market dominance and on strict rules that are baseless and impossible to sustain from the economic and social viewpoint must be radically modified,” the program, or “contract” as the two sides are calling it, recites on page 35.

“At the same time we must introduce specific procedures … allowing member states to recede from monetary union, thus recovering their monetary sovereignty.”

On page 38, the document says that by the end of its quantitative easing (QE) bond-buying program, the ECB “will hold approximately 250 billion euros’ (about 297 billion U.S. dollars) worth of BTPs (or Italian 10-year bonds). Cancelling them will reduce public debt by about 10 percentage points.”

Italy’s public debt topped 2.302 trillion euros in March, breaking a record high of 2.3 trillion in July 2017, the Bank of Italy reported Tuesday.

Earlier, League chief Matteo Salvini lashed out at the European Union (EU) after top European officials said Italy’s new government should keep reducing its debt, respect EU rules, and stick to an open-door immigration policy.

European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen earlier warned that EU fiscal rules “apply to all member states” and the Commission “won’t grant exceptions to anyone”, while EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said it is to be hoped Italy’s new government won’t change its immigration policy, ANSA news agency reported.

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