Italexit panic: Alarm bells in Brussels as expert warns crisis to erupt NEXT MONTH

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And while Dr Marina Cino Pagliarello, of the London School of Economics said while the prospect of “Italexit” becoming a reality was remote, a rising tide of resentment meant it could not be ruled out in the future. Gianluigi Paragone launched his fledgling outfit, modelled on Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, last week, on the same day the EU unveiled their contentious £677billion coronavirus recovery plan.

The proposals had split the bloc during the European Council summit, with members of the so-called frugal four objecting to the fact that a large proportion of the figure consisted of non-repayable grants.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte, among others, suggested this would result in runaway public spending in countries in the south of the bloc, particularly Italy, which have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Dr Cino Pagliarello told Express.co.uk: “It was a pretty tense European Council summit, also also because we have seen that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of the European Union was pretty weak at the beginning.

I’m not sure you can really talk about euroscepticism, but there is a sense of disenchantment

Dr Marina Cino Pagliarello

“So a lot of resentment started regarding lack of solidarity, especially in Italy.

“I’m not sure you can really talk about euroscepticism, but there is a sense of disenchantment, but the same optimistic vision of Europe is no longer present.

“When we talk about Europe it’s more a problem of priorities and of what you want to make with them.”

With respect to Italy’s internal politics, Dr Cino Pagliarello foresaw problems for the ruling coalition headed up by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

She explained: “September/October is going to be the time of greatest challenge to the Italian government. Italy has to implement financial policies following the EU recommendations and, within the post-COVID 19 exacerbation of the economic crisis, the current government coalitions might face severe challenges, which might led to another election with Conte or with a technocratic government.”

Turning her attention to the founder of the new No Europe for Italy party, launched after a meeting with Mr Farage in London last Monday, she added: “Gianluigi Paragone founded his own party, No Europa for Italy in July after being kicked out of the Five Star Movement for opposing the party being in a government coalition with the Democratic Party, although he is still in the Italian parliament as Senator.

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“He’s a former TV journalist who aligns himself with Nigel Farage’s politics.

“As a journalist he was a sort of genius at the level of political communication, by launching his party in the same day of the Recovery Fund.”

Assessing his chances, she said: “It is too soon to say what kind of political impact he might have.

“It’s too early to see him dominating but he does have support.

“The issue of monetary sovereignty, meaning leaving the euro, is the main basis for the slogan.”

As for the chances of Italy following the UK out of the EU, Dr Cino Pagliarello said: “Italexit is a very remote possibility – Italexit is essentially a slogan really.

“Italians are aware that without Europe we could be completely ruined but you never know for the future.

“In Italy there is a north/south divide and there is less support for leaving the EU in the South than in Lombardy and Venetia, because of all the EU help for poorer regions.

“In opposition Lega is more opposed to Europe than when they were in government because when you are the opposing party you can say what you want.”

Of course, Mr Paragone’s decision has somewhat eclipsed the man who was up until last week generally regarded to be the standard-bearer for Italian euroscepticism – Lega leader Matteo Salvini.

Dr Cino Pagliarello said: “But Salvini has never said ‘let’s leave Europe’.

“Matteo Salvini is a eurosceptic – but not to the extent of wishing to take Italy out of the European Union.”

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