Anti-EU 'barbarian' Salvini announces Italian govt deal close

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According to reports, Salvini and Di Maio had been willing to make compromises over their flagship policies, the League's drastic drop in taxes and the 5-Star's universal basic income, which look tricky to reconcile in one of the Eurozone's most indebted countries. The top two finishers - the upstart anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the nationalist League party - have been inching this week toward an alliance that would have a razor-thin majority in Italy's parliament.

An incendiary early version of their accord called for the renegotiation of European Union treaties, the creation of a euro opt-out mechanism, a reduction in Italy's contribution to the European Union budget and the cancellation of €250bn of Italian government debt.

"There is no time to lose, there is no space for technocrat government", League leader Matteo Salvini said in a statement. Italy already has an enormous debt worth more than 130 per cent of annual output, second only to Greece in the EU.

The euro opt-out has gone, and calls for changes to European Union treaties and monetary policy are marked in red, meaning they are yet to be agreed.

Di Maio backed his potential coalition partner, saying the nascent government was "receiving constant attacks, even today by some eurocrats who weren't elected by anyone".

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Italy offers some of the highest yields of European government bonds in the investment-grade sphere, at almost 2 percent in 10-year maturities.

The 5-Stars strongly appeal to voters in the south, where youth unemployment runs higher than 50 percent in many areas.

The parties say much of the 39-page draft has radically changed.

Forging a coalition would put the 5-Stars in Italy's national government for the first time. However, three 5-Star sources said the main stumbling point remained who should head the administration.

Mr. Chiapponi said that would probably result in instability.

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"On the USA economic data front, the consumer remains the economy's backbone, and if this robust trend in the retail space continues to build, factor in a bit of wage growth pressure and the U.S. dollar will continue to move higher on the back of higher yields", Innes added.

As of Wednesday morning, officials involved in the talks insisted that Five Star and the League were finally close to a deal, though it was still unclear whether the two sides had settled on a choice for prime minister.

"This is the time to have the courage to go all the way", he said, promising measures including tougher penalties for tax evaders and cuts to the so-called "golden pensions" enjoyed by wealthy former politicians and business executives.

"If Berlusconi believes he is strong, do not be surprised if he tries to act on that belief", Mr. Orsina said.

Benchmark Italian government bond yields nudged higher after a 16 basis point jump on Wednesday following reports, subsequently denied, that the prospective Five Star/League coalition government had drafted an economic plan that would seek 250 billion euros of debt forgiveness from the European Central Bank.

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