EU faces revolt as half of Italians now want to leave bloc in huge surge in euroscepticism
However, the deal does not cover joint debt to finance recovery which Italy, France and Spain were pushing for but that was rejected by Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Finland. Italy has been ravaged by the coronavirus and until recently, had the most deaths worldwide. Now, 49 percent of the 1,000 Italians polled are in favour of leaving the EU, according to a poll by the Tecne Institute.
That is 20 percent more “Italiexit” supporters than a year and a half ago when the question was last put to the public.
The survey was conducted on April 9 and 10 – shortly before the agreement on aid payments.
It echoes the results of another survey, carried out by Termometro, that found 39.9 percent of Italians are pro-leaving the EU.
Meanwhile, 40.9 percent want to remain, and the rest are either in favour of only leaving the eurozone or only to remain, even without EU membership.
“The Italians have already become very suspicious of Europe.
“There is a risk that an ‘Italexit’ could be triggered,” said Jacques Delors Institute director Sébastien Maillard on the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
The current situation has what it takes to shake up the structure of the EU, according to the Paris expert.
Similarly, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned that the EU’s very existence would be under threat if countries could not pull together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
He told the Financial Times newspaper that monetary policies alone would not resolve the issue.
“Monetary policy alone cannot solve all problems; we need to do the same on the fiscal front”, Mr Conte said.
“The route to follow is to open ESM (European Stability Mechanism) credit lines to all member states to help them fight the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic,”
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In countries most afflicted by the virus, such as Italy, where citizens have entered the fifth week of strict quarantine, people could begin to feel that they can no longer rely on the solidarity of traditional partners.
“A Europe without Italy is a deadly danger,” said Mr Maillard.
“After Brexit, you cannot imagine that another country would leave the EU, especially a founding country.”
The expected recession in many countries could trigger a social crisis and strengthen nationalist forces.
Former European Commission President Jacques Delors, 94, who led the Brussels authorities from 1985 to 1995, warned last month of a lack of European solidarity during the crisis.
Italy has recorded its lowest number of new COVID-19 deaths in more than three weeks, with further 431 people dying during 24-hours. The country’s death tool overtook China and now stands at 19.,899.
The number of patients admitted into intensive care with the virus was lower for the ninth consecutive day – showing the curve is starting to flatten.
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