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'Italy deserves respect!': MEP reacts with fury as EU rejects budget

Frederick Florin, AFP | EU Commissioner of Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici gestures during a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France on October 23, 2018.

After the EU’s unprecedented rejection of Italy’s budget on Tuesday, an Italian MEP went up to the European Commissioner for finance, slammed his shoe on his notes and shouted “Italy deserves respect!”

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In a move that escalates a monthlong stand-off, the EU said the populist government's budget for next year is out of line and breaks earlier promises to lower public debt.

Italian MEP Angelo Ciocca – who represents the League, the right-wing junior partner in the populist coalition with the Five Star Movement – was perhaps the most luridly vocal of those expressing opposition to the EU’s approach.

Unprecedented EU rejection of Italy's budget

After Muscovici spoke against the budget, Ciocca took his shoe and used it to crush the commissioner’s notes, shouting “Italy deserves respect!”

“In Strasbourg, I used my shoe (with a sole made in Italy!) to walk on the mountain of lies that Muscovici wrote against our country!” Ciocca wrote on Twitter.

Moscovici responded on the same platform: “Those who crush texts and decisions with footwear do not respect rules, institutions or democracy.”

Italy's debt load is the second-highest in Europe, after Greece, and there are worries that losing control of spending could rekindle financial turmoil in Europe. The populist Italian government says the sharp increase in spending is needed to jumpstart growth after years of malaise.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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