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'Yellow Vests already in power in Italy’: Former IMF head on rising challenge to EU establishment

'Yellow Vests already in power in Italy’: Former IMF head on rising challenge to EU establishment
While Yellow Vest protests continue against Macron’s reforms, former IMF head Carlo Cottarelli believes the new Italian government represents a populist anti-austerity sentiment, moving from the streets into the EU parliament.

In an interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze, Cottarelli suggested that the Yellow Vests’ principles have now found expression on a parliamentary level in Italy. Italy’s new populist government promises sharp increases in public spending and offers harsh criticism of current EU leadership and French President Emmanuel Macron in particular.

“The yellow jackets are already in power in Italy, so I don’t think there are going to be any demonstrations,” he said noting that the Italian government sees Macron’s weakness as their strength.

Now Rome is looking for options to move beyond making criticisms, proposing a Euroskeptic alliance with the conservative Polish government to counter the Paris-Berlin axis.

While Cottarelli doesn’t believe that Italy and Poland will be able to make a major difference in the EU, the new alliance could “impede the movement that France and Germany would like to have in another direction.”

The pro-austerity economist, who is less-than affectionately known as “Mr Scissors” for pushing radical cuts to state budgets, was hesitant about the new Italian government’s dedication to heavy social spending.

Cottarelli, who was appointed to prime minister for a few days amid political turmoil in 2018, criticized Rome’s “impossible” initial spending plans, emphasizing the crucial role “scaled down funding activity” and compromise had played in getting the state’s budget approved by Brussels.

Watch the full interview with Carlo Cottarelli.

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