Juncker: ‘Risk of Non-Operational Government in Italy’

For the European Commission President, a strong market reaction after the vote is possible

Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, declared during an event at the Centre for European Policy Studies that the European Union should be prepared for the worst-case scenario in Italy after the general election on March 4: ‘a non-operational government’.

Markets

Indeed, the vote could leave the country with a hung parliament, due to the complex electoral system and the fragmented political landscape. Therefore, for Juncker, ‘a strong market reaction in March is possible’ and the European Commission ‘is already preparing for this event’.

However, the same markets reacted to this admonitory statement, as the spread between Germany and Italy increased from 134 to 138 points. Thus, the EC President later amended his statements by affirming that ‘Italy will have a government that makes sure that Rome remains a central player in Europe’.

Reactions from Italy

The Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, reassured that there will be no leap in the dark. ‘I don’t agree in seeing these elections as a leap in the dark, it will certainly be important that more reliable forces, and from my viewpoint especially the centre left, will have a fundamental role so as not to throw away the results reached’.

Other Italian politicians expressed harsher criticism. Among those, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Northern League, remarked that ‘every time that Juncker speaks, luckly or not, the opposite happens’. Fabio Massimo Castaldo, 5 Stars Movement MEP, declared that the policy of diktats from Brussels is over’. Members of other parties (Forza Italia, Liberi e Uguali) also highlighted that Juncker’s worries are unfounded and inappropriate. Finally, only voice from outside on this, for Emma Bonino (+Europa) it is clear that with this electoral law it is not possible to form a majority.