Italy's 5-Star and League put final touches to government deal

Brussels calls on Italy to stay committed to the 'European path'

They had been widely expected to unveil a deal at a meeting with President Sergio Mattarella on Monday, but in the event had to ask for more time after differences emerged over policies and over who should head any new administration.

Italian stocks .FTMIB tumbled 2.3 percent while Italy's 10-year bond yield jumped almost 19 basis points to 2.13 percent.

The far-right League and the 5-Star Movement have been discussing a common policy agenda for a week after a March 4 election ended in a hung parliament.

"The more they insult us, the more they threaten us, the more they blackmail us, the more desire I have to embark on this challenge", he said.

"From Europe we have the umpteenth unacceptable interference by unelected officials", Salvini said.

The coalition plans to demand EUR 250 billion of debt forgiveness and create procedures to allow countries to exit the euro, according to Reuters, which quotes the Huffington Post Italia website.

The ideas in the draft program underscore the great difficulties in finding the resources needed to pay for promises the two rival parties made to their voters during the campaign.

They have both vowed to scrap an unpopular pension reform - a move that would punch a 15-billion-euro hole in state coffers.

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Five Star and the League released a statement hours after the draft was published, saying it was "an old version that has been considerably modified" and pushing back on the euro blueprint, adding that they decided "not to call into question the single currency".

After months of drift and political uncertainty, Italy looks set to anoint its first government dominated by populist and anti-immigrant parties, setting Rome on a collision course with the European Union powers that be in Brussels over plans to cut taxes, increase spending, reconsider the euro currency and dramatically curb the flow of refugees arriving on the country's shores from northern Africa.

Salvini dismissed concerns about the widening gap, or spread, between Italy's benchmark bonds and safer German ones as a sign the two potential partners were on the right track.

"The combination of higher oil prices, higher dollar and stronger yields are starting to potentially weigh on investor sentiment", said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for wealth management division of Northern Trust in Chicago.

Brussels has called on the next Italian government, which is likely to be formed by Eurosceptic parties, to remain on the "European path" and not tear up the EU's strategy for controlling migration. The sanctions have had a major knock-on effect on the Italian economy, as Russia is a top importer of Italian products and one of the top European tourist destinations for Russian travellers.

Then, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said Italy must continue to respect its commitments to the EU, including pledges to cut its big public debt, regardless of who takes over the helm of the new government in Rome. He declined to comment on the outcome of the coalition talks. 5-Star has moderated its position considerably in the past year, rowing back on a previous plan to hold a referendum on Italy's membership of the currency bloc. Indeed, only Greece has fared worse in the eurozone in the last 20 years, which has fueled the political success of Five Star and the League.

They also share an anti-establishment sentiment that has taken root in Italy but which has worldwide parallels such as Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the USA election of President Donald Trump.

Both parties plan to consult supporters over the weekend to see if they back the government pact.

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