Wednesday 21 August 2019

Salvini sees 'good signs' coalition back on track

Matteo Salvini. Photo: Reuters
Matteo Salvini. Photo: Reuters

Angelo Amante

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini yesterday said he saw "good signs" that Italy's government was moving forward, his clearest indication yet that he is not planning on quitting the coalition and triggering an early election.

Mr Salvini, of the far-right League, threatened last week to ditch his cabinet partner the 5-Star Movement.

"I have always said that if the government does things, the government will go ahead. Between yesterday and today there have been good signs of things being unblocked," said Mr Salvini.

The League leader said the government had agreed to unlock €50bn of funds to spend on an array of programmes, including for building roads, schools, hospitals and railways.

"It's been a beautiful, productive morning," Mr Salvini said, sounding more upbeat than he has in many days.

The easing of tension fed through to the financial markets that often fret about Italy's huge national debt levels, with 10-year government bond yields falling to a 33-month low.

Adding to Mr Salvini's good mood was the fact Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had announced the previous day that work on a rail link with France, known as the TAV, should proceed since halting the project would cost Italy more than completing it.

The TAV has been a bone of contention between the League and 5-Star, with Mr Salvini's party demanding that the costly Alpine rail line be completed while 5-Star called on it to be scrapped.

"We convinced the prime minister last night that we need fast, safe and less polluting trains," said Mr Salvini.

Irish Independent

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