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Will Italexit follow Brexit?

August 19th, 2020
topic:Election
by:Federica Tedeschi
located in:Italy, United Kingdom
tags:anti-Euro, COVID-19, european identity

The coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact in Italy has brought a rise of euroscepticism within the country. A new anti-EU party wants to tap into these sentiments.

Italexit is a new political party launched on July 23, with the aim to get Italy out of the European Union (EU).

“It is a democratic option offering people the opportunity to say they do not like the European Union and want to get Italy out of it. Contrary to some other political parties which propose ways to improve the EU, Italexit believes there cannot be a better Europe and so there is no point in remaining,” said founder Pierluigi Paragone during an interview with LA7 television channel, two weeks before the party’s official launch occurred.

Previously a senator with anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Paragone has stressed that one of the main objectives of Italexit is recovering monetary sovereignty by freeing Italy from the single currency.

The five key points of the anti-EU party also comprise a referendum, the abolition of the balanced budget obligation and the nationalisation of the country’s strategic sectors as well as the end of autonomy for the central bank. The newly launched website is still to advertise the full party agenda. Updates are expected from September onwards.

Italexit’s launch press conference, which took place at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome, followed a London meeting between Paragone and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, the English politician who played a key role in the EU referendum campaign.

“With Farage we share a political project he has already successfully carried out, earning his gold medal. And now it is my turn to compete,” stressed Paragone during the conference in Rome. At the same event he also presented the party’s slogan ‘No Europe for Italy, Italexit with Paragone’.

It is early days to predict if Paragone’s party will be able to tap into the anti-EU sentiment in Italy. And it also appears to be a peculiar time in the country’s political dynamics; even Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League has softened its line against Brussels, after having been the main reference point for Italian Eurosceptics until recently.

Eurosceptisism rises amidst pandemic

There is however a plethora of data describing the way Europeans feel towards the EU, which have been gathered from surveys conducted up and down the Italian peninsula, as well as all over the continent.

According to a recent Tecnè Agency opinion poll of 1,000 Italians, 49% of participants reckon that quitting the EU would be the right choice. In 2018 only 29% of those who took part to a similar survey thought Italy would have been better off out of the EU.

Another opinion poll conducted by Termometro Politico shows a country almost divided in half with 40.9% of Italians eager to stay in the EU versus a 40% willing to ‘Italexit’.

It comes as no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact in Italy has played a role in the rise of Euroscepticism within the country.

And a poll carried out in by Redfield and Wilton Strategies on behalf of Euronews revealed that 61% of Italians felt Covid19 had weakened the case for the EU, with 70% saying the bloc had not done enough to help their country during the crisis. In the same poll, only 47% of the 1,500 participants said they would vote ‘remain’ in a referendum (May 2020).

A Third of EU Relief Fund goes towards Italy

On the other end, the timing of Paragone's move appears questionable, as the launch of Italexit occurred just a couple of days after the EU leaders had struck a deal to launch a €750 billion economic Recovery Fund aimed at financing post-pandemic relief efforts across the EU.

Italy, which is the original European epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, is also one of the countries that will benefit the most from the scheme, securing 28% of the fund, amounting to €209 billion. More specifically, the Mediterranean country will receive €127.6 billion in loans and the remaining €81.4 billion in grants.

While Italexit’s structure and composition are yet to be confirmed, during the party’s launch on July 23rd, Paragone also announced that president of the VII Municipality of Rome Monica Lozzi, who has left the 5-Star movement, will be the candidate of Italexit as mayor of Rome at the next administrative elections.

Article written by:
Federica-Tedeschi
Federica Tedeschi
Author
Italy United Kingdom
© Ruptly
Gianluigi Paragone formally launched his 'Italexit' party in Rome, after meeting earlier in the week with prominent Brexit advocate Nigel Farrage in London.
Italexit is a new political party launched on July 23, with the aim to get Italy out of the European Union (EU).
One of the main objectives of Italexit is recovering monetary sovereignty by freeing Italy from the single currency.