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He is the Master of Rome - now he wants to take on the eurozone

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The eurozone elites are looking straight down the barrel of an Italian economic revolt and a parallel currency. Subversive "minibot" treasury notes are back in play. "I don't govern a country on its knees," said Matteo Salvini after sweeping the European elections even more emphatically than the Brexit Party. Note the majestic "I". He is already master of Rome.

Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy prime minister.Credit:Bloomberg

The Lega strongman can no longer be contained, even by Italy's ever-ingenious mandarin class. His party commands 40 per cent of the country together with Eurosceptic confederates from the Brothers of Italy. It has erupted like a volcano in the Bourbon territories of the Mezzogiorno, now on the front line of migrant flows and left to fend for itself by Europe. Salvini can force a snap election at any time.

By some maniacal reflex, the dying Commission of Jean-Claude Juncker has chosen now to draw up the first indictment letter of the revamped debt and deficits regime. Italy faces €3.5 billion ($5.6 billion) of fines for failure to tighten its belt. It has 48 hours to respond.

"We're not Greece," said Claudio Borghi, Lega chairman of Italy's house budget committee. "We are net contributors to the EU budget. We have a trade surplus and primary budget surplus. We don't need anything from anybody. And we are in better shape than France."

Lega strategy is to offer EU leaders a choice: reform the EU treaties to enable fiscal expansion and allow the ECB to act as lender of last resort; or face the consequences.

Brussels says Italy has failed to make "sufficient progress" on debt even though the chief cause of slippage........

© The Age