It would be a mistake to put the controversial issue of ratifying the ESM bailout fund to parliament now, says PM Meloni. Italy is the last EU state to ratify it.
Premier Giorgia Meloni said on Saturday, now was not the time to put the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) to parliament for ratification. This confirms reports she is thinking of putting off a showdown on the issue, which has split the ruling parties, from next Friday until after the summer recess in September.
“You know what I think about it,” Meloni said as she left the Forum Europa Wachau in southern Austria.
“I certainly think it would be a mistake to bring it into the chamber now, also for those who are favourable to ratifying the treaty”.
Meloni is said to be keen on postponing the ratification until the last possible moment and using it as a bargaining chip in an issue which Rome sees as much more important, the reform of the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact.
Delay the ratification until September
A showdown within the ruling right-wing majority over ratifying a reform of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund may be put off till September to enable the parties to find agreement on the issue, political sources said Saturday.
Currently the government parties are set to vote next Friday, June 30, on Italy finally ratifying the reform after everyone else in the EU has done already.
But government divisions and tensions on the issue are said to be so high that it may be better to put the showdown off until after the summer recess, when cooler heads may prevail, said the sources.
Italy is the only EU country holding out on ratifying the reform, which Premier Giorgia Meloni has criticised on several occasions.
The Italian premier has said the EU should unlock ESM funds for “other initiatives” so it becomes a vehicle for growth.
The Italian government is reportedly split over the issue with Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti broadly in favour of ratification. However, his League party and its right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) ally are against.
The reform is also controversial in Italy over fears it could reduce the nation’s sovereignty on budget issues.