Udo Bullmann: Italy must show responsibility and start a constructive dialogue with the Commission about its budget plans for 2019
Following the European Commission’s decision to take the first step towards sanctioning Italy for its budget plans for 2019, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann stated:
“The European Commission’s decision on the Italian budgetary plan is caused by the refusal of the Italian government to enter into dialogue with the Commission.
“We urge the Italian government to stop their absurd arm-wrestle strategy with the EU institutions that is solely inspired by short-sighted political calculations. The Italian government must enter into a constructive dialogue with the Commission and the other Eurozone members to find an appropriate solution. This is in the interest of the Italian citizens and the European Union as a whole.
“Italy needs to provide answers now and do its part in avoiding further turmoil. The current budget plan has little to offer to improve the lives of Italian citizens. We therefore call on the Italian coalition to reconsider its plans substantially. The outcome of the latest auction of government bonds to Italian investors showed how little domestic actors trust their government to set the right course for the financial future of their country.
“The S&D Group advocates flexibility and improvements in the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), starting from a different treatment for public investments. Yet, this is not putting into question the very logic of common budgetary rules, as sharing a common currency is a serious matter and cannot be taken lightly. Erratic behaviour from one member state can jeopardise the stability of the entire Eurozone and have knock-on effects for the well-being of Italians but also all other EU citizens.
“Situations like the one at hand demonstrate how urgent it is to reform the Eurozone to put it on a more sustainable footing. We need to complete the Banking Union, including a European Deposit Insurance System. Likewise, transforming the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a true stabilisation instrument within the EU framework and setting up a Eurozone budget for convergence and stabilisation, for instance in the form of a re-insurance for national unemployment benefit schemes, is key. The irresponsible behaviour of the Italian government weakens all those who are working tirelessly to build a better Economic and Monetary Union for all.”