Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

EU’s mask slips as Italians fear bloc will ‘take their pensions’ in recovery fund

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At the end of summer, EU leaders struck a deal on a huge coronavirus recovery package. The €750billion (£668billion) coronavirus fund will be used as loans and grants to the countries hit hardest by the virus. The remaining money represents the EU budget for the next seven years.

The talks began with a divide emerging between the hardest hit nations and those intent on a more “frugal” package of measures.

Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria all pushed back on an initial package of grants worth €500billion (£450billon).

As many wonder whether the measures will ultimately deepen the bloc’s economic integration or cause its demise, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Italian politician and Italexit campaigner Sergio Montanaro exposed what he believes is the “ugly truth” about the package.

In Italy, it is feared that the EU, by virtue of the loan it is giving, will ask for pension reforms, such as the one launched by Mario Monti’s government in 2011.

The most tangible risk is that the retirement age will be extended, and that Quota 100, an early retirement scheme, will give way to a new law that is anything but benevolent with the worker.

Mr Montanaro explained: “They have given us lots of conditions if we want the recovery fund.

“The first one is revisiting Quota 100 and then other pension reforms.

“They are basically putting into question our possibility of retiring.

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“And let me tell you this. Soon, the market will lower labour costs and therefore our salaries.

“Italy, which is a nation founded on small and medium-sized businesses, will greatly suffer from this.”

Frexit campaigner Charles Henri-Gallois echoed Mr Montanaro’s sentiments in another recent interview with Express.co.uk.

He said: “The recovery fund will be truly catastrophic for France. We will basically end up paying so much more than what we receive.

“And as a consequence, there will be so much more pressure to adopt EU social policies, such as the pension reform.

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“Really, it is a total disaster. And all the mainstream media in France are saying it is historic and wonderful, but they don’t explain the real cost.

“All they are doing is this propaganda as if it is free money, but the citizens of France will foot the bill.”

He noted: “I can understand why Germany is willing to pay a bit more.

“They have an interest in keeping the Common Market.

“It is beneficial for them.

“But for France and Italy… it makes no sense.”

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