ITALIAN journalist Marco Travaglio claimed the European Commission would be happy to "exterminate all pensioners and the unemployed" to protect their "policies of social massacre" during a tense interview after the Italian Government appeared to reach a compromise on its proposed budget.
The Italian Government and the European Commission repeatedly clashed after Rome put forward a draft budget proposal suggesting an increased deficit goal of 2.4 percent of the GDP for 2019. After nearly three months of bitter dispute, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte hinted on Wednesday he had reached a compromise with Brussels to avoid hefty sanctions. But despite praising the Italian leader for finding a solution to the budget crisis, Italian journalist Marco Travaglio tore into the European Union making explosive comments on the bloc's treatment of member states.
Reacting to the compromised on La7 show Otto e Mezzo, Mr Travaglio said: "If the European Commission could exterminate all pensioners and all the unemployed they would do so happily. And they would promote Italy with flying colours if we did so.
"These are the social massacre policies they have imposed these past few years."
Prime Minister Conte said the deficit target for next year has been slashed to 2.04 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from the 2.4 percent originally aimed, sparking hopes of an end to months of conflict between Rome and Brussels.
The new offer comes after Italy faced threats of disciplinary proceedings from the EU, who claimed the original budget was in breach of previous spending commitments.
Mr Travaglio continued: "They had to bite a bullet they did not like and because there was a compromise, Salvini and di Maio also had to bite the bullet. Otherwise, we’d have been sanctioned."
"The European Commission and President Conte met halfway – maybe a little forward than halfway for the Government – to 2.04 percent, which is around €10 billions. This will allow the Lega and M5S start with increased gradually than expected their flagship policies and avoid sanctions.
"If this budget proposal had been written by the European Commission, the deficit-GDP ratio would have been 1,6 percent and not above 2 percent. Basic income would not exist, pension quotas also would not exist but now, gradually, these two policies will happen."