Luigi Di Maio (Avellino, 1986) is minister of Labour and Economic Development of Italy, also one of its two vice-presidents and the leader of the party with the most votes in the last elections, the Movement 5 Stars (M5S). Is 32 years old and this is his first experience in political management. But his undeniable political instinct has made him one of the two pillars on which is supported the Italian Government in one of the most turbulent of recent times. When the Commission has opened a procedure unheard of infringement to Italy by the budget expansive that it has signed next to his partner of government, Matteo Salvini, receives THE COUNTRY in her office at the Ministry in Via Veneto of Rome. Come curves, but Di Maio sees him quiet and ensures that you will not touch the basic points of the accounts Italian that much concern in Brussels. The next few days will be crucial for the country and the future of the coalition that governs the country.MORE INFORMATION in The rejection of Brussels to budgets leads to shocks in the bosom of the Italian Government Italy approves budgets that violate the rules of the EU, Juncker ruled out a “special treatment” to Italy because it would be the “end of the euro”
Question. The European Commission has initiated infringement proceedings concerning Italy, in a historic decision. How far will this clash?
Response. We have never lived as a shock. But the public opinion of Italian will not understand how active a process as well as against a budget that, among other things, set out to save five million people out of work, and shall indemnify all scammed by the banks; a law that will help the business with the flat tax. Spain, for example, reached a year, the 11% deficit; there were times that it made budgets expansive and France also exceeded the limits. Germany goes beyond the trade surplus and, in change, the process of infringement is made against the Italian Government.
Q. Why do you think they go against Italy?
A. it Is something linked to the political nature of this Government. The fact of being in a historical moment in which some political forces will not survive the european elections: citizens will be given a signal of change to the entire establishment europe in may. If you want to activate this procedure, you are in the right. But we can't give up on the proposed measures.
Q. And how do you plan to do it?
The perception of the Italian people is that the sanctions are inexplicable
A. I Want to have a dialogue with the EU in terms of trim waste, increase the sale of immovable property and assets of the public administration, to incorporate clauses to ensure that we did not beat the 2.4% deficit. But it has to be clear that in Italy there will be another carnage social. The italians have spent in 10 years for labour reforms, increase in VAT, reform of pensions, a rise in corporate taxes... And all the politicians said he had asked Europe. I believe in an EU of solidarity to carry forward their principles, but the carnage that we ask for is not possible. Dialogaremos without giving up more rights to the italians.
Q. Your problem is not just the Commission, the rating agencies or the IMF. The markets have triggered the bonus up to more than 333 points this week.
A. We have maximum attention by the markets. I can't tell you that is not worried, because I am. But analyze it carefully: there is a great fear that Italy exit the euro or the EU. And I will assure you here will not be so. Then, it is obvious that the tension with Brussels does not help the premium. But the important thing is to know what law is finally adopted in the Parliament: then the markets will calm down.
Q. what, Then, is leaving the door open to major changes in the Parliament?
R. But none will be able to dispense with the cardinal points. Income of the citizen, to 9,000 million; pensions act, 6.500 million; getting ripped off by banks, 1,500 million; 1.200 million for lowering of taxes. The rights not to be touched. But we can find new sources of income. The next day of forming the Government because we were receiving attacks of commissioners of the EU. It is not easy to think that it is a question of merit and not of prejudice.
Q. The tone of this Government, especially of Salvini may have contributed to that bias?expand photo The deputy prime minister of Italy, Luigi Di Maio, in her office at the Ministry of Labour. Antonello Nusca
A. My tone before the elections and now is the same. And of Salvini, even I would say that it has been toned down somewhat. Change with respect to what we would be hypocritical and that is not in the nature of our political forces. Tria and Conte have made more of an opening, the letter that we send to Brussels it does not say “this or nothing”. He says, “we are prepared to touch a series of points that are not the basics”. The tone is always the same, but you may not like how you voted for the italians on the 4th of march. Fortunately it is they who decide.
Q. One of your action star is “overcome” the law of pensions and reduce the retirement age. How do they intend to do so in one of the countries in the world where more grows the hope of life?
A. it Is an intervention with the economic availability that we had. If we accelerate the process of retirement, we want to free jobs for new generations that will enter the world of work prepared for these new technologies. And that will increase the productivity. I know that is a huge thing, but without the mechanism of the retirement we will stay with people until the end of the race without skills to these changes.
P. Tito Boeri, president of INPS, the body that manages the payment of pensions, says that is unfeasible and that you know well.
Our tone is always the same, but you may not like how you voted for the italians on march 4,
A. No you will escape that Boeri has always been very controversial with this Government. I say to you, do not be alarmed, and we'll do so with respect to all the parameters of balance.
P. income citizen was also highly criticized. But it has ended up being an unemployment subsidy as it already exists in other countries.
A. it has Always been that. Never wanted to give money to people without doing anything. It is a measure that intervenes in people without a job to give you one. It is founded on the concept of basic income in English, in the model of the Hartz 4 German. It is a circle that is closed with the open positions that will remain with the early retirement.
Q. Your Government is guaranteed not to exceed 2.4% of the deficit through a safeguard clause. Where does it cut off?
A. we have Not finished defining the spending cuts inútiI neither activated the plan of sale of real estate. But, look, I think that Italy should be treated much better, with respect to the markets and the EU. This is a country which since Maastricht has paid 630.000 million euros in interest on the debt. We have always followed the rules and we've burned the better fulfilling our obligations. We have a public debt increased but private is non-existent. A country such as France has a debt higher joint and more exposed.
Q. Do you Think that Italy has been abused?
A. No. What I have seen in this period are european commissioners who do not think like us, and go up the tone: they also. And I don't freak out. The commissioners do not come from Mars and we are at the gates of a campaign.
We have maximum attention by the markets. I am concerned, of course
Q. When you get to penalties, what will you do Italy?
A. we'll Discuss hard and we will explain our reasons. But at a certain point, the european people will be expressed again. And that will allow us to see if the austerity policies of recent years have worked. The perception of the Italian people is that it is inexplicable sanction for the first time in history a Government that defends their rights: they will perceive Europe more distant.
Q. In 2014, you were against the euro. In 2016 said that the euro was destroying the economy of the south. This year, you warrant that you will not come out of the single currency. What credibility has your word in this matter?
A. a few years Ago I would have said that Europe is a monolith franco-German immovable. Today we say that we are the Government with the consensus of Europe and we have more opportunities to influence the processes of the eurozone. If you have changed our line is because you have changed the budgets of departure. This State has a Government after those in europe will have more partners.
Q. is A State where growing euroscepticism.
R. If the EU puts us in a process of infringement to defend their rights, it is logical that you upload.
Q. who will be presented to the european elections?
A. We are developing a manifesto that will unite different forces emerging across Europe to create a new group founded on the goals of the new technologies, the job, the income of citizens and the environment. Soon you will know the names.
P. Appointment the environment. But the greens don't want to interact with you by your link with Salvini.
A. don't think traditional groups. Are emerging groups. I can't tell you names.
Q. you Need seven games in seven different States.
A. I have confidence. We are creating the conditions.
Q. What is the party like in Spain?
A. All parties are of the left or right. Only Citizens could be outside that scheme. But it is allying with Emmanuel Macron.
we Follow the model trumpista in the bet by accounts expansive
Q. Has 32 years old, and no experience of management at a critical time. I guess that note the pressure in these moments.
A. My age is also to see things from another point of view. It is a privilege, not a limit. To have the vision of someone grown up in the south, in the land of fires, where for years there has been major environmental problems. In one Oslobet of the areas with the highest unemployment in the country. I I do not minimize never the suffering of those who come to see me. I know what it means to the young people having to emigrate in order to thrive.
Q. You are imagined to govern with a party like the League, forged in the contempt for the south?
A. No, nobody could have imagined. If I had asked 10 months ago I would have laughed. But these are the two forces most voted in the elections and are the only ones that have cultivated themes that are today in the budget law.
P. The partnership is not sterile. You started as a citizen movement with a strong presence of groups left disappointed. Today are with a party of the ultra-right. How do you change the identity of the party?
A. don't forget that our electorate is divided into three parts: a right, another left-equivalent, and another in the middle that is not identified in these schemes. But in addition, the only Government possible was this. I proposed a government contract to the PD and rejected it. The contract with the League allows us to take forward many social rights, but we are opposed to civil rights. With the League we don't have an alliance, its allies in the territory are Berlusconi.
We are developing a manifesto that will unite different forces emerging across Europe to create a new group
Q. it Would have been very different from a Government of M5S without the League?
A. The italians gave us a 33% support: with the 50% we would have gone alone. We have a few companions along the way with which we do not agree on some things, but the contract will need five years to be made and these fundamental interventions that we are doing would be the same as that of a Government one of the M5S.
Q. Do You feel comfortable with the migration policy of Salvini?
A. Look, I confronted the issue of NGOS in 2017: before Salvini. There has been a great misunderstanding in this topic, we have never been in favor of that reaches around the world. We always told you that bloqueasen the outputs of boats, which is to amend the Dublin regulation, and we've talked about repatriating the immigrants. Separates us from Salvini's approach: his is very hard, ours is not an ideological one.
Q. Since the election you have lost 7 points in the polls. The League will more than outweigh. Do you think that that is exactly by that approach, more hard to the issues?
A. The League grows because it absorbs all the votes of Berlusconi and Fratelli Di Italia. Grows because you are not with Berlusconi, but when you come back you will lose a part of that consensus. We arrived to the last week of the campaign, with 27%. And then it was 33%. In a climate of witch hunting, where if you vote to the M5S are a plague, our constituents often do not say so.
Q. Will the legislature?
Italy should be treated much better by the EU and the markets
R. This Government will last five years because we have a lot to do with the contract. I have already said I that is a Government unexpected, but it is founded on only two political forces without transfuguismo. And that is to respect the will of the people. Keeping promises will reward us.
Q. will The Executive give a feeling of instability from the outside.
A. The instability is linked to the fact that there is a public discussion. But you have to get used to itor, because we are two forces, with many disagreements. More instability, I would say it is sincerity.
P. Share, in change, the idea of the trumpismo as a political model, as you said the other day.
A. it is Not our model in the energy nor in the immigration. But what is to the accounts expansive. Trump has decided to lower taxes on businesses and investments through some deficit. All that said, that would shake the economy, today see it as a 4% rise. We have used the same principle.
Q. With the immigration does not seem so different.
A. I am not in favor of the policy of walls, so to speak.
Q. After the issue of the Aquarius worsened relations with Spain?
The contract with the League allows us to take forward many social rights, but we are in the antipodes in civil rights
A. No, on the contrary. We were happy that Spain opened the ports. Decompressed the attention on us. But the Aquarius increased the pool factor, the attraction to migrants. It was the first sign of the change of flows.
Q. it's Been five months since I began to govern. What are the things that are more complicated than I thought within the palace?
A. The topic is the time. These two ministries are the emergency room of the problems of the people. And the greatest is that these years you have accumulated a lot of social crisis, because as it is progressed, is dismantling the social State. I am dismantling the Jobs Act of Renzi, which eliminated re-entry systems at work that created ghosts. The biggest difficulty is to find around the world and providing a solution. My frustration each day is to arrive on time.
Q. Have generated many expectations.
A. Yes, very many. But it is important to be close to the people. I don't know if I'll solve all the problems. But it has ended an era in which not listening to anyone.Juncker and Conte playing the last card the Saturday in Brussels
Italy and Europe, portray their clash publicly for months. There has been name calling, posturing, teasing, and a member of the League to trample on the roles of the commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici. Brussels has also not spared in disqualifications to the Executive Italian and its members. And, finally, all the noise has resulted in budgets that Italy knew they could not pass, and the Commission has not wanted to let go. But no-one seems to want a lot more time to this tension, although both sides are playing a game more complex with an election of european background.
beyond the outputs of tone of Salvini or of the official position, Italy considers that there is room to negotiate still and can convince the European Commission of the goodness of your budget. Even being already the object of an infringement procedure for excessive debt is unprecedented to date. On Saturday the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, the man most moderate of the Executive that formed the Movement 5 Stars and the League, will have dinner with the president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker. The expectation is very high.
Luigi Di Maio believes that it will be an important time and keeps the door open to dialogue. But with a twist. “Will continue the dialogue with the european institutions and who will take forward will be the president of the Council of Ministers, Giuseppe Conte, and the minister of Economy, Giovanni Tria. Our intention is clear and is the same as that of the Commission: reduce the Italian public debt. To achieve this goal we have chosen the path of growth, seen that the measures of the past did not work, as shown by the data. We are willing to dialogue if you are not touched the rights of citizens and fundamental of the law of budgets. For all the rest, we agree. I talk about cutting waste, and reorganizing public spending”, he says.
The dinner on the Saturday in Brussels is the last possibility of lowering the voltage and “change certain dynamics” before budgets enfilen final approval in the Italian Parliament and the Commission activate the infringement procedure, as indicated sources of the government when it released the meeting. And there have been gestures to date.
Yesterday, Conte has also opened the door to dialogue using the word “modular” to refer to the potential budget changes that might be expected when the law passes by the cameras. The minister of Economy, Giovanni Tria, warned also of the risks of the rise of the risk premium on mortgages.
The infringement procedure will not be adopted definitively until the next Ecofin on 4 December. Italy notes with attention to the role of their partners in search of support. Di Maio, in the interview with THE COUNTRY, he acknowledges that Spain “has not come into barrage, at the question of budgets although you can have your opinion.” Also took it for granted, he says, the rejection of states, such as Austria or the Netherlands, who have spoken out against it claiming firmness to the European Commission.