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Italy Pushes Euro to Fore, the Last Place Europe Wants It

In doing so, Mr. Mattarella has given Italians, exceptionally, the same option built into the French election system — two rounds of voting — the first to vote your heart, and the second to vote your head. In France, Ms. Le Pen did well in the first round of presidential voting last year; she was soundly defeated in the final round.

Mr. Mattarella is gambling that Italians may do the same, if the populist parties can be made to surrender their ambiguity on the euro — an issue they skirted through the Italian campaign.

As of November, a poll by the European Commission, the bloc’s bureaucracy, showed that nearly 59 percent of Italians preferred European economic and monetary union with a single currency, the euro, while 30 percent were opposed.

Italy Pushes Euro to Fore, the Last Place Europe Wants It
Italy Pushes Euro to Fore, the Last Place Europe Wants It

The risks of leaving the euro have always been a reason Italy has stayed in. But the country has not done well with the euro, by some measures, and so the question now is whether a public frustrated by two decades of stagnation is ready to take a gamble of its own and bolt.

As demonstrated by the Brexit vote, which numerous analyses showed would not be good for Britain’s health, economic logic does not always prevail.

Like Ms. Le Pen, Mr. Salvini may discover after a public debate that despite anger at Brussels over migration and the problems of the euro, Italians, like the French and the Greeks, are afraid to leave it.

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