On May 27, the political movement Italia Libera submitted a constitutional bill to the Supreme Court of Cassation demanding a referendum for Italy to leave the EU. After years of discussions, the foundation stone was laid for Italians to debate whether they want to remain in the EU or follow the United Kingdom out of the bloc. The draft bill presented by Italia Libera to the Supreme Court of Cassation is entitled “Call for a referendum on the withdrawal of the state from the European Union.”
Effectively, Italia Libera has demonstrated that it is possible to follow an institutional path to allow citizens to decide whether they want to remain in the EU or not – and for those who want to leave, now is the best time considering the massive decline in popularity for the bloc after their abandonment of Italy when it was at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gian Luca Proietti Toppi, a lawyer involved in the bill, said that it is necessary to reach ordinary Italians and “open their eyes to the harmful effects of participating in a Union without a soul and based only on finance. It is clear that with the filing of the 50,000 signatures necessary to start the parliamentary process of the proposal, a broad debate will open on the opportunity to exit the cage of the EU and the Euro.”
He continued to explain that “the effects of liberating the old continent from this bureaucratic and oppressive superstructure will certainly be complex to manage. However, Italia Libera, who is the first promoter of the Committee that collected the signatures needed, has already put experts and academics to work to draw up a plan that will secure the savings of Italians and from the debt.”
Although he did not mention the EU’s abandonment of Italy during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, he did emphasize how the bloc financially exploits Italy, just as it does to all of Mediterranean Europe with the exception of France.
There are many positive aspects to the EU, most notably the free movement of people and a coordinated effort to fight crime through Europol, but these multilateral agreements can exist without a European Parliament and domineering institutions based in Brussels and Strasbourg. As Toppi explained, Italy imagined the EU to be “a community of peoples and not of bankers.” It is for this reason that they announced the bill on the same day an unprecedented European Union Recovery Fund became official. This fund was only established because of the backlash received due to the bloc’s initial disinterest in assisting already struggling economies of the EU that were being further devastated financially by the pandemic.
With widespread southern European dissatisfaction with how the EU abandoned its supposed liberal ideals, particularly Germany, in favour of serving inward self-interests, bloc leaders are now playing catch up. President of the European Commission and Angela Merkel’s right-hand man in previous German governments, Ursula Von Der Leyen, and the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, who was also a former member of the Troika of bankers, announced the unprecedented measures to assist Europe through its financial woes. This time they promised real aid that would not completely decimate state structures and entire economies like what happened to Greece, Spain, Portugal, and to a lesser extent Italy, for the entirety of the 2010’s. The Governor of the Bank of Italy expects a 13% drop in GDP in 2020, and for this reason Toppi emphasized that Italy does not need any further indebtedness which will increasingly put Italy in the hands of international speculators.
However, Italians remember that Lagarde announced on March 13, just as coronavirus was truly beginning to overwhelm hospitals, that the pandemic was an Italian problem only. This was the catalyst that saw ordinary Italians begin to remove EU flags from public display and replace them with Russian and Chinese flags in gratitude to the significant assistance that these two countries gave to Italy when it was abandoned by Brussels and Berlin.
An “Italexit” would be a bigger blow to the prestige of the EU then Brexit. Italy, as a G20 country, uses the Eurodollar unlike Britain which maintained currency sovereignty and continued to use the pound. Therefore, to prevent the strong possibility that Italy in the coming years could leave the EU, Brussels and Berlin must take note of its political failures and work to design a new community that has respect for national sovereignty and identity, and on the basis of reciprocity. It is not acceptable that Germany remains the dominant country of the EU and effectively rules over the European Commission, the European Central Banks, the European Court of Justice and the European Parliament.
A Europe free of unscrupulous bankers, self-referential bureaucrats and inadequate politicians is at the forefront of those pushing for their respective countries to exit the EU or call for its reformation. However, for this to be achieved, a major state must lead the charge, and it appears that Italy will take on this mantle and could very well be the first Eurodollar state to leave the EU if drastic reformations are not made. And Italian exit will surely have a domino effect felt all across Europe.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.