The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy has led to a rise in Euroscepticism in the country. A new anti-EU party wants to tap into these feelings.
Italexit is a new political party launched on July 23, with the aim of bringing Italy out of the European Union (EU).
âIt’s a democratic option giving people the opportunity to say that they don’t like the European Union and want to get Italy out of it. Unlike some other political parties who are proposing ways to improve the EU, Italexit believes that there cannot be a better Europe and therefore there is no point in staying â, said founder Pierluigi Paragone during of an interview with the LA7 television channel, two weeks before the official statement of the party. the launch has taken place.
Previously a senator for the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Paragone stressed that one of Italexit’s main goals is to reclaim monetary sovereignty by freeing Italy from the single currency.
The five key points of the anti-EU party also include a referendum, the removal of the obligation to balance the budget and the nationalization of the country’s strategic sectors as well as the end of the autonomy of the central bank. The newly launched website has yet to announce the full party agenda. Updates are expected from September.
The Italexit launch press conference, which took place in the Chamber of Deputies in Rome, followed a meeting in London between Paragone and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, the English politician who played a role key in the EU referendum campaign.
âWith Farage, we share a political project that he has already successfully carried out and which earned him his gold medal. And now it’s my turn to compete, âsaid Paragone at the conference in Rome. At the same event, he also presented the party slogan “No Europe for Italy, Italexit with Paragone”.
It is early to predict whether Paragona’s party will be able to tap into anti-EU sentiment in Italy. And it also seems to be a special moment in the political dynamics of the country; even Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League has softened its line against Brussels, having until recently been the main reference for Italian Eurosceptics.
Eurosceptisism is on the rise in the midst of a pandemic
There is, however, a plethora of data describing how Europeans feel about the EU, which has been collected from surveys carried out along the Italian peninsula, as well as across the continent.
According to a recent opinion poll carried out by the TecnÃ¨ agency among 1,000 Italians, 49% of participants believe that leaving the EU would be the right choice. In 2018, only 29% of people who took a similar survey thought Italy would have been better outside the EU.
Another opinion poll carried out by Termometro Politico shows a country almost split in two with 40.9% Italians wanting to stay in the EU against 40% ready to âItalexitâ.
It is not surprising that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy has played a role in the rise of Euroscepticism in the country.
And a poll by Redfield and Wilton Strategies on behalf of Euronews found 61% of Italians believed Covid19 had weakened the EU’s cause, with 70% saying the bloc had not done enough to help their country during the crisis. In the same poll, only 47% of 1,500 participants said they would vote to “stay” in a referendum (May 2020).
One third of EU relief fund goes to Italy
On the flip side, the timing of Paragone’s decision seems questionable, as Italexit’s launch came just days after EU leaders struck a deal to launch a $ 750 billion economic stimulus fund. euros to fund post-pandemic relief efforts across the EU.
Italy, which is the European epicenter of origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, is also one of the countries that will benefit the most from the device, obtaining 28% of the fund, amounting to 209 billion dollars. ‘euros. More specifically, the Mediterranean country will receive 127.6 billion euros in loans and the remaining 81.4 billion euros in grants.
While Italexit’s structure and composition have yet to be confirmed, at the party’s launch on July 23, Paragone also announced that the president of the VII Municipality of Rome Monica Lozzi, who left the 5-star movement, will be the Italexit candidate for mayor. of Rome in the next administrative elections.