From Brexit to Itexit

EPA-EFE/RICCARDO ANTIMIANI

The League (Lega) party's leader Matteo Salvini (C) accompanied by party colleagues Gian Marco Centinaio (L) and Giancarlo Giorgetti (R) addresses the media after a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace, in Rome, May 14, 2018.

From Brexit to Itexit


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The European Commission finally realised that there is something special about Italy when three Commissioners started giving the new Italian political leadership, …warnings, like yellow cards.

Public deficit, stability pact, and immigration.

The Commission did not understand what happened there, otherwise, it would be keeping a persuasive silence about the matter and would make certain that a direct communications channel with Matteo Salvini remains open. Salvini is the leader of Lega, a partner in the new incoming Italian government, and a Member of the European Parliament which is a good enough excuse to talk to him unofficially, of course.

The sudden wave of warnings shows the level of panic in the Commission when it began to realise what the immediate future would look like.

Anti-establishment parties won the election in Italy, if only marginally, which means that if it will not be politically possible to produce a government for the time being there will be new snap elections shortly, with a landslide victory by Lega and their 5-Star Movement (M5S) anti-establishment counterparts.

In such an election, M5S cannot expect to increase in their share of seats in the Italian Parliament. Lega, however, which is in the eyes of Italians as a part of the traditional political parties and is currently riding a wave of victorious momentum, will get votes from the losers of the same family – former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Partito Democratico, which was led by ex-PM Matteo Renzi until their resounding defeat in the March election.

Brussels must, therefore, understand that from now on it does not have to negotiate with Renzi or Paolo Gentiloni, another former prime minister from Italy’s recent past, but with Salvini and Di Maio.

The three warnings by the Commission were an inappropriate signal because give ground to both M5S and Lega to focus the next electoral campaign on a possible referendum for Itexit – an Italian exit from the European Union. And this case is in no way similar to that of the United Kingdom as Italy is in the Eurozone and a founding Member State of the EU.

The real problem of the European Union during this wave of anti-establishment sentiments is confined solely to the UK or Italy. The problem is that because of the extended austerity programmes, over-regulation, and immigration, heterodox insurgent forces became the new political trend in Europe. If it is not tackled now, at the early embryonic stage, it may well take on the dimension of a catastrophic avalanche in the not-so-distant future.

This is what the European Commission must handle as the alternative to dismemberment.

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