Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Five Star Movement Luigi Di Maio reiterated his support for embattled Economy Minister Giovanni Tria amid speculation that the former was looking to fire Tria unless he finds a way to finance the 2019 national budget in line with both Five Star and its coalition partner Lega’s policy commitments.
Di Maio, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, and Tria have clashed over the size of the 2019 budget deficit with Di Maio wanting to deliver on key policy commitments, including a €780 minimum guaranteed monthly minimum wage and the rollback of pension reforms. Salvini, Di Maio’s ally in the government, has pushed for a two-tier 15% and 20% corporate flat tax.
Tria has responded to the demands by saying he wants to double the deficit target from the 0.8% of GDP that was set by the previous government but wants to keep the deficit below the 2018 budget objective of 1.7%. to 1.6%.
Di Maio and Salvini, however, want a deficit just under the 3% ceiling set by the fiscal compact.
Finding money for all flagship policy commitments while meeting fiscal consolidation targets appears to be a delicate balance. For Di Maio, the burden is with Tria, whom Di Maio said, “must find the money” for the policy pledges and specified that “no one asked for the resignation of Minister Tria. I expect, however, that the economy minister of a government of change needs to find the money for those Italians in need.
“The Italians who are in a difficult situation can no longer wait. The State can’t leave them alone any more, and a serious minister must find the money,” said Di Maio.