EU on the brink: France and Germany sent brutal Italian warning – ‘Not the Europe we want’

Brussels bosses have already apologised to Italy for not responding quickly enough when the country found itself at the epicentre of outbreak in Europe. But many Italians still feel the country has been abandoned by its neighbours.

This is not the Europe we want

Pietro Fiocchi

A recent survey found 67 percent of Italians believed being part of the union was now a disadvantage for their country, up from 47 percent in November 2018.

And nationalist party Brothers of Italy said the EU – and particularly France and Germany – should now consider its future without Italy as a member.

Brothers of Italy MEP Pietro Fiocchi said: “In recent days, the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte reassured a truck driver by saying Italy will not receive any non-refundable monetary aid.

“The Netherlands behaves like other European nations that, while supporting fiscal dumping, prove uncompromising against the hypotheses of common European debt instruments to mitigate the impact of the profound economic crisis ahead.

“This is not the Europe we want. Just see how low the index of satisfaction of Italian citizens towards the European Union is at the moment.

“This should force those who belong to it, especially Germany and France, to think if it is true that Italy counts on Europe.

“Would it be the same without our country especially after Brexit?”

There is a bitter split over the extent to which euro area countries should be pursuing a more unified economic response to the crisis.

Finance ministers meet on tomorrow to try to thrash out a package of measures aimed at creating greater Europe-wide fiscal firepower.

Italy is pushing for the euro area to be far more ambitious by selling bonds to help fund the massive economic rebuilding efforts that lie ahead.

Brussels has set out a rescue fund called the European Stability Mechanism which countries can use but many Italians fear borrowing from the institution would come with tough conditions attached and would stigmatise the country.

And even pro-EU politicians fear a backlash which could lead to calls to leave the bloc.

Carlo Calenda, a former minister and Italian permanent representative to the EU, admitted experiencing a crisis of faith in the institution he has spent a lifetime fighting for.

Mr Calenda, who leads the recently formed liberal Action party, said: “This is an existential threat, I am not sure if we are going to make it.

“You have to consider my party is one of the most pro-European parties in Italy and I now have members writing to me saying: ‘Why do we want to stay in the EU? It is useless.’

“A massive, massive shift is happening in Italy. You have thousands of pro-Europeans moving to this position.”

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Italy is facing its worst crisis since World War 2 with more than 29,000 deaths from coronavirus and its economy on course to suffer the deepest recession in its modern history.

Last month Italian president Sergio Mattarella warned the future of Europe was at stake if its institutions did not show solidarity with their country.

He said: “I hope that everyone fully understands, before it is too late, the seriousness of the threat to Europe.”

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