Italy's populists stir markets with pre-euro nostalgia

Carlo Cottarelli formerly of the IMF says the plan is

"It would be insane to give up at the moment of truth", League leader Matteo Salvini said in a live video stream on Facebook, adding that he would not be intimidated by negative reaction from financial markets or attacks from the media.

With tensions high, Valdis Dombrovskis, the vice-president of the European Commission, warned that Italy should maintain its commitment to gradually reduce the public deficit and debt.

5-Star and the League said in a statement that the draft, which was dated 14 May, was "an old version that has been considerably modified".

The document - entitled Contract for a Government of Change - paves the way for a general confrontation with Brussels, as it envisages "immediately ending sanctions against Russia", which have been in place since 2014 following Moscow's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Euro zone inflation slowed in April, European statistics agency Eurostat said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier flash estimate and adding to the headache of European Central Bank policy makers seeking to phase out monetary stimulus.

The leaked documents, as well as Salvini's own public statements, make clear that the emerging Italian government is on course for a major standoff with Brussels if the incoming government pushes hard for a to renegotiation of Italy's contribution to the European Union budget as well as the fiscal compact.

In a Facebook video, Di Maio said that the establishment feared change but "the more they attack us the more I am motivated" to reach a deal. It would also be Italy's first all-populist government. European Union officials also are nervously following developments of a proposed Italian referendum on the future of the euro currency and policies aimed at turning away refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

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As part of the immediate fallout, the spread between Italy's and Germany's 10-year bond yields grew.

The dollar index .DXY , which measures the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, rose 0.16 percent to 93.365 after rising to 93.632 during the session, its highest since mid-December.

"It's very possible that the parties will have to moderate their plans on a lot of these controversial areas once they try to govern", said Flavio Chiapponi, a political scientist at the University of Pavia and author of a book about the 5-Star Movement. Investors are betting that US interest rates will need to rise further to curb inflation while other central banks are postponing monetary tightening. "But during the campaign, neither party was shy about criticizing the European Union, and their supporters do not expect them to back down".

Berlusconi has refused to govern with the 5-Stars, who he regards as "more unsafe than communists".

But this week may go down as the moment when Mr Salvini and Mr Di Maio solidified their alliance on a platform - and tone - of conflict and defiance towards Brussels.

A new Italian government was put on hold on Monday after the leader of anti-establishment Five Star Movement asked President Sergio Mattarella for a few more days to form a coalition with the far-right League. Di Maio has pledged to guarantee a minimum income to the unemployed.

There is still no word on who the parties want to lead the government.

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