As expected, the day after the outburst of the European Commission President Juncker, everybody strive to lower the level of confrontation. But the tension runs under the skin and eventually it bursts again despite diplomatic efforts. Renzi, with the high risk referendum breathing on his neck, restarts the confrontation: “The time when Italy just took orders and diktats is over and will not return. We are not the ATMs of Eastern Europe which demand solidarity only when there is something to be taken and never when there is the need to give back.” Juncker replied in the same tone: “I do not preside over a gang of technocrats and bureaucrats but a commission made up of politicians and in politics, reality must be observed.”
In Juncker’s exasperation, there is an evident irritation for being targeted by Renzi as a champion of rigor just as the Berlin hawks besiege him to put into temporary receivership the Commission of the bail-out Fund for the flexibility granted to Italy. But the clash reveals how the path to the Italian budget law is much more difficult and bumpy than expected.
In Brussels, completely different tones are being used, however the substance of the positions remain unchanged. After meeting with Commissioner for the Economy Moscovici, Minister Padoan ensures that the conversation “has been constructive” and that “the negotiations are ongoing.” Today, the Commission will announce its growth forecasts: Padoan is convinced that “there may be slight differences but not significant deviations” with respect to the accounts of the Italian government. In fact, today’s passage has not been considered an obstacle for a while, given the choice to postpone the decision until after the referendum.