EU news: Bloc warned over ‘rising anti-EU sentiment’ in Italy | World | News

Euroscepticism has been particularly prominent in Italy in recent years, thanks largely to Matteo Salvini and his Lega Party. He has branded the euro a “crime against humanity”, and regularly hit out at Brussels on a number of policies. And in July, the Italexit Party was launched by Gianluigi Paragone, who promised to free Italy “from the cage of the European Union and the single currency”. A Euronews commissioned poll, released in August, found that Italy is the most likely of the ‘big four’ EU nations to leave the bloc.

Data from the Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey found that most Italians would be in favour of leaving the EU if Brexit is seen as successful.

Italexit was backed by 45 percent respondents, meanwhile data from France showed 38 percent backed Frexit, followed closely by Spain with 37 percent.

Dr Eoin Drea, a Senior Research Officer at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels, argued that the EU hasn’t served Italy’s interests.

He said in August: “Overall, I am broadly negative on Italy’s long term prospects in the EU.

“I believe the rising anti-EU sentiment is based on an economic stagnation which began in the early 1990s and has been made worse by the Great Recession starting in 2008 and now the coronavirus epidemic.

“And this is borne out in how younger Italians are now flocking to the more anti-establishment political parties. It is the Italian millennials which have been truly sacrificed by successive Italian governments in order to preserve the privileges of the older generations.”

Dr Mattia Zulianello, a political scientist at the University of Birmingham, says that it is difficult to tell whether support for Italexit is truly surging.

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However, the economic challenges facing Europe could result in “discontent” from Italians, he warned.

Dr Zulianello said: “Rather than rejecting the very idea of European integration per se, most Italians are unhappy with the concrete functioning of the EU and with the direction it is taking.

“In other words, there are many shades of euroscepticism, meaning that increased discontent with the functioning of the EU does not necessarily imply real support for Italexit.

“Euroscepticism is a polyhedric phenomenon: it is not black or white.

“I am afraid that discontent with the EU will further increase in autumn, when the real extent of the economic crisis will become fully evident.”

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Italy isn’t the only country causing concern for Brussels, as Polish leaders have also engaged in eurosceptic rhetoric in recent months.

President, Andrzej Duda, has used harsh terms to describe the EU, branding it an “imaginary community of little consequence for us”, while Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recently warned that the bloc risks becoming an “oligarchy”.

Polling in Poland has support for EU membership as high as 80 percent in some instances, indicating that for now there is little appetite to leave the bloc.





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