Italy's borrowing costs hit a four-year high on the back of comments by one of the country's coalition leaders, Matteo Salvini. The head of the Lega Nord claimed that EU officials were the 'enemies of Europe', during a controversial press conference with France's far-right politician Marine Le Pen.
Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said the government would not cave in to market pressure and backtrack on its plans to increase deficit spending next year.
"If one had evil thoughts, he would think there are people betting on the spread because they don't want Italy to grow and create jobs," Salvini said, noting the gap between Italy's benchmark 10-year bonds and the German equivalent had widened on Monday.
"We will not backtrack, we will not backtrack," Salvini said of the government's budget plans, adding that "speculators acting like (George) Soros are betting on Italy's collapse to buy at discount prices the healthy companies, and there are many of them, that have remained in this country."
Populist parties across Europe are expected to co-ordinate their campaigns closely during the European elections next year.
With the Commission in Brussels taking action against Poland over its Supreme Court reforms and a recent legal challenge against the Hungarian government; populist governments and the EU's institutions are locked in an increasingly bitter dispute.