EU HYPOCRISY: Brussels risks fury by giving Macron SPECIAL TREATMENT over France budget

Posted on Dec 28 2018 - 3:57pm by admin
And he also took a swipe at French President Emmanuel Macron, suggesting he had “lost authority” in the wake of his perceived climbdown after widespread protests by the so-called “yellow vests” over planned new fuel taxes. EU budget commissioner Mr Oettinger’s announcement is unlikely to impress Italian politicians whose proposal to run a budget deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP, equivalent to roughly €40billion, was rejected by the commission, with the country since forced to accept a more modest 2.04 percent. France said last week that its headline deficit could grow to 3.2 percent of output next year from 2.8 percent initially planned, which would add up to about €70billion – significantly more.

Mr Macron is under strong pressure from violent protests at home to ease the impact of fiscal reforms.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Oettinger said: “Under this condition, we will tolerate a national budget deficit higher than three percent as a one-time exception. 

“However, it must not continue beyond 2019.”

Mr Oettinger said Mr Macron had “lost authority” by releasing a budget draft which exceeds the EU’s three percent deficit limit, before adding: “But he remains a strong supporter of the European Union.”

Brussels had already reviewed the French budget a few weeks ago and the EU’s executive body would not revisit it again, Mr Oettinger said.

He added: “It crucial now that Macron continues his reform agenda, especially in the labor market, and that France remains on its growth track.”

Speaking to Bloomberg earlier this month, Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University, said: “Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio.

“Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces.

“If he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini himself launched a stinging attack on Mr Macron earlier this month, claiming he was to blame for the yellow vest protests.

Speaking on Rai 3 TV, he said: “History will probably show that if Macron had focused more on the French and less on Salvini and Italy, he would have a few less problems today.

“Macron reduced taxes for the very well-off and increased them for those less well off.

“Do people in Italy want scenes like we seen in Paris?

“No. I want to prevent this. I want to help businesses, families and also the 5 million poor people here. 

“A country with 5 million poor people can’t move ahead.”

Mr Salvini’s right-wing Lega Party, of which he is leader, has emerged as the most popular member of the coalition government which also includes the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (5SM).

However, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, seen by many as little more than a figurehead, has insisted he is not yet willing to step aside to allow Mr Salvini to take the top job.

He told Corriere della Sera: I’m not ready to hand over the baton.

“This government is an expression of a reform project that requires the full length of the mandate.”

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