Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned of divisions in the EU beyond Brexit: between the generally richer countries in the north and the poorer south centred on an array of issues including Italy’s stand against the bloc’s debt rules.
The Italian government has decided to ramp up spending far beyond EU expectations and only backed off slightly after the EU threatened legal action. Concerns remain that the Italian government’s spending plans will add to the country’s huge debt load and potentially rekindle financial jitters dormant since 2015, when Greece was bailed out for a final time.
Rutte said his citizens are asking why the Netherlands is implementing measures to abide by the budget rules when others like Italy are not. The dispute, he said, is “creating distrust between north and south”.
Mateusz Morawiecki, prime minister of Poland, which has had run-ins with the EU over its moves to overhaul the judiciary, said Italy was not being treated the same as France.