EU ‘falling to pieces’: Populists triumph in Italy

by WorldTribune Staff, March 8, 2018

The stunning success of populist parties in Italy’s election is a crushing blow to the European Union, analysts say.

The populist Five Star Movement (M5S) became the largest single party in Italy with 32.1 percent of the vote on March 4 while the center-right coalition led by the League took 37 percent.

Matteo Salvini: “We will … change the rules that have impoverished Italians”. / Ansa

Meanwhile, a recent study revealed 51 percent of Italians would be in favor of leaving the EU.

The results in Italy are further proof that the EU has failed to unite member states and is slowly “falling to pieces,” political scientist Matteo Scotto said.

“We just need to look at the two-speed Europe – look at two member states: Germany and France – that’s becoming a reality, with an adverse and excluded western-central Europe, an indifferent northern Europe and a forgotten southern Europe,” Scotto said, according to a report by the UK’s Express.

“What remains of Europe is sterile echoes of calls to order, bloated by a misunderstood and badly distributed economic success. What remains is a mere Union of states – if we can still talk about a union – which either cooperates if and when all interests are taken care of or proceeds, legitimately, by other means becoming smaller still.”

Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio outlined his government program on March 7 in a letter to La Repubblica, Italy’s main center-left newspaper.

“Ten million poor people can’t be ignored… The security of our cities day and night can’t be ignored. Unemployment, especially among the young, can’t continue to run rampant,” Di Maio wrote. “That is the message that has come loud and clear from the polls.”

League leader and top prime minister contender Matteo Salvini, praised Britain’s decision to leave the EU. Salvini has said he would close mosques, strengthen Italy’s borders and take sovereignty back from the EU.

“We will go to Europe to change the rules that have impoverished Italians,” Salvini said on March 6.

Lorenzo Fontana, one of Salvini’s top deputies, said establishment politicians in Europe have failed to listen to voters.

“It’s a battle raging across national and regional borders,” Fontana said. “Citizens have been sending important signals to all of Europe. If we want to make it so that the situation doesn’t get any worse, we need to understand how to get those signals.”

The populist movement will spread to other states unless Germany and France pressure the EU to reform, professor Mario Telo from Luiss University told Euronews.

“It is crucial that in a short time the Franco-German couple is proposing a reform of the Eurozone, capable of reviving a growth policy and avoiding future crises,” Telo said. “We don’t underestimate the fact that, for the Franco-German couple and for the more reasonable forces at the center of Europe, this could be an opportunity not to be missed to avoid similar phenomena which will reproduce in a short time in France and Germany.”

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