Data from a Euronews-comissioned poll conducted in summer suggested that Italy would be the most likely EU member state to consider exiting the bloc if Brexit proved to be beneficial for Britain, with France and Spain both showing moderate support for changing its relationship with the bloc.
Italexit Party spokesman Sergio Montanaro has revealed plans to take Rome out of the European Union in “less than two years”, reports The Express.
In an exclusive interview with the outlet, he was cited as saying: “Our goal is to leave the EU because it is possible. It is about political will. The Italian people, just like the British, want to get out of this cage.”
Montanaro outlined the plan as being quite simple, and hinging on bringing into Parliament people who seek to leave the European Union. “Several collections of signatures have been carried out recently but they are pointless as they just collect dust in the end.We intend to bring everything into Parliament,” noted Montanaro.
The spokesperson for what is dubbed Italy’s version of the Brexit Party noted:
“The problem is that there is a lot of confusion about what to do… when actually it is very simple. If we were the governing party, the first thing we would do is trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. We would then create a parallel currency flanked by the euro during the two years it takes to actually leave the bloc.”
The spokesperson for the party, whose complete name is No Europe for Italy – Italexit with Paragone, founded and led by Italian senator and former TV journalist Gianluigi Paragone, was quoted as saying that subsequently, under that scenario, Italexit would seek to negotiate with other states, all of which would want to do trade deals with them.
“This is because we believe that we carry a message of national identity. We’ll get back control of your nation and its currency.”
Montanaro claimed Italexit, formed in July 2020, had been inspired by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, whom they credit for Britain’s divorce with Brussels.
“We admire him a lot. For people who want to leave the bloc – and not just for the Italians, but also the Dutch, the French, the Greek – he is the embodiment of the ability to do so,” said Montanaro about the former MEP.
Brussels leaders signed off on a huge coronavirus recovery package earlier this summer worth a whopping €750 billion (£677 billion), including a Next Generation EU fund to be used as loans and grants for countries hardest-hit by the pandemic. Since these included countries such as Italy and Spain, the large cash outlay was touted as beneficial for Italy, but there are still doubts that it will quash anti-EU sentiments.
Italians were suggested as increasingly losing faith in the EU after the nation found itself in the front line of the European migrant crisis in 2015. Yet it was the perceived failure by the EU to help Rome at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that came as the final straw, with some commentators claiming at the time that Brussels’ response amounted to an “abandonment” of Italy.
The Italian ambassador to the EU, Maurizio Massari, in an article in Politico in March urged assistance from the bloc to help his country tackle the virus.
“Rome should not be left to handle this crisis alone… This is a crisis that requires a global and – first and foremost – a European response,” Massari wrote.
Italy was also dealt a blow when the bloc voted in April to reject Rome’s suggestion to introduce “coronabonds” – a form of EU-backed debt to lift member states out of recession.
“Germans and the Dutch have consistently opposed the idea of debt mutualisation, despite the parlous state of Italy’s public finances,” reported The Guardian.
According to a Euronews-comissioned poll in summer, among the EU’s “Big Four” of Italy, Germany, France and Spain, Italians were found to be the “most in favour of leaving the EU in five years’ time if Brexit proved to be beneficial for the UK.
The Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey that gauged the opinion of 1,500 people in each of the four countries between 17-18 July showed 45 percent of Italians “either agreed or strongly agreed with the idea” if the Brexit example were perceived as good for the British economy.
France and Spain, according to the poll, both showed moderate support for amending their relationship with the bloc, at 38 percent and 37 percent, respectively.
Germany was the member state supposedly least likely to support an exit from the EU, with just 30 percent in favour.