Italy’s Five Star Calls for EU Push on Restructuring Public Debt

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A top economic adviser to Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement has called on the EU to debate restructuring public debt — comments that could unnerve investors and highlights the unorthodox economic views of the party leading the country’s polls, the Financial Times reported. With three weeks to go before the nation’s general election, Lorenzo Fioramonti, an aide to Luigi Di Maio, the Five Star candidate for prime minister, said the “time is right” for a “conversation” around debt restructuring in Italy and “several other” countries. Italy’s public debt exceeds 130 per cent of gross domestic product. “We can be pioneers of change in a European system that is ripe for change,” Mr Fioramonti said. “I don’t want this to be perceived as all we are interested in is getting an easy way out.” While an Italian sovereign restructuring would be intended to ease the fiscal burden and reduce government interest payments, the sheer size of the country’s €2.3tn debt load could mean a big risk of a market backlash as well as political objections from Brussels and Berlin. Read more. (Subscription required.)