Italians turn against the euro

EPA/CLAUDIO PERI

Anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo attends a meeting about public water, in Rome, 20 March 2017.

Italians turn against the euro


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Italy could be the first European Union country to quit the euro. The findings of two recent economic reports show that Italians are no longer keen on the EU’s single currency and that the country is poorer as a result of being part of the currency bloc.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Italy’s 5-Star movement, which wants to dump the euro through a referendum, has been surging in opinion polls recently, getting as much as a third of the vote in a March Corriere Della Sera poll. The anti-European Union Northern League got about 12% – and there are others.

But leaving the euro zone would come down to whether Italian voters believe 15 years or so of the currency had been good or bad for them.

According to a December report from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, looked at GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power between 2004 and 2015.

Assuming a base of 100 for the EU’s combined 28 countries, powerhouse Germany rose to 124 from 120 over the period. Italy, however, sank to 96 from 110.

That puts Italy closer to emerging economies like the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia that it does to Germany. France was pretty much unchanged at 106.

Second are some findings from research group World Economics that suggest Italy’s problems from its currency linkage with Germany are increasing.

According to AP, Germany has become much more competitive as a member of the euro zone. By comparison, Italy has not.

Meanwhile, World Economics suggested that Italy is a new fault line for the euro zone, even though France and Greece have a worse problem.

“Italy looks like becoming the next ‘domino’ to suffer from the strength of the German economy as trends … have become much more pronounced over the past 12 months,” it said in a note.

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