Eurosceptic rebels are prepared to smash the EU’s monetary ceiling on Italy with parallel currencies and deficit spending – acts which are considered to be an “open violation of the Maastricht Treaty”.
Italy’s right-wing parties – Forza Italia, Lega and the Brothers of Italy – have joined forces to form a grand coalition, overseen by ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and is ahead in the latest polls.
Their joint manifesto has made it clear they will not abide by the terms of euro membership.
It includes the creation of zero-coupon Italian treasury notes to pay €30bn (£26bn) of arrears owed by the Italian state, mostly to contractors.
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