EU Commissioner Oettinger Alleged Remarks Add Fuel to Fire

“The markets will teach the Italians how to vote”

EU Budget Commissioner Gunther Oettinger allegedly declared during an interview that “the markets will teach the Italians how to vote”, provoking outraged reactions in Italy.

Not true

However, the quoted strings that are currently circulating on the Italian and international press is the loose interpretation of Oettinger’s words, as tweeted by the interviewer, Brend Thomas Riegert. Indeed, the Deutsche Welle correspondent in Brussels declared that he misquoted the Commissioner, trying to make a rapid reaction summary of the interview that will be broadcasted tonight.

He later tweeted that the accurate transcript of this fragment of the interview is “my concern, and my expectation is that the coming weeks will show that… Italy’s economic development could be so drastic that this could be a possible signal to voters not to choose populists from left and right”.


The denial could not avoid the anger of all main Italian parties, especially the Five Star Movement and the Northern League, main players of the current institutional crisis. Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, said that “in Brussels they have no shame” and called for the immediate resignation of Oettinger, launching the hashtag #italiansfirst.

Strong criticism has also come from the Brussels higest places, as the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called the statement “ill-considered”, adding that “it is up to the Italians and only them to decide the future of their country, and to no one else”. Donald Tusk, European Council President, took an equally clear stand: “my appeal to all European institutions is please, respect the voters: we are here to serve them, not to lecture them”.

The spread jumps over 300 points

Oettinger’s alleged remarks comes in a moment of deep institutional crisis, as the two government forces in pectore accused the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, of violating Italy’s constitution, when he vetoed the appointment of the euroskeptic economist Paolo Savona as Minister of Economy. The strong political instability of the last few days brought the spread between Germany and Italy to go over 300 points, well beyond the alter threshold.