Friday

22nd Jun 2018

Italian euro scepticism taking root

  • In June 2005, Italy became the first country to face disciplinary action under the EU's adjusted stability pact (Photo: EUobserver)

One in five Italian private sector employees (21%) think scrapping the euro would be the best solution to Italy's economic problems, according to a fresh poll.

The Ipsos/Cise survey published by the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore was conducted among private sector staff who split their vote almost equally between centre-right and centre-left in Italy's 2001 election.

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Ahead of Italian spring elections, due 9 April, prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s anti-euro rhetoric seems to be working in the battle against his main rival, former European Commission president Romano Prodi, who led Italy into the euro, the Financial Times suggested.

In June 2005, Italy became the first country to face disciplinary action under the EU's adjusted stability pact because of a ballooning budget deficit. At the same time the Italian Northern League party launched a campaign to revive Italy's old currency, the lira.

The party, which holds ministerial posts in Silvio Berlusoni's government, called for a revival of the lira as a "parallel currency" to the euro, which would remain the currency of the state budget, tourism and foreign trade.

The Italian opinion poll comes after the euro recently took a knock on fiscal rather than political grounds.

Frits Bolkestein, who served in the previous Prodi commission as internal market commissioner from 1999 to 2004, last week predicted that the common currency would face a huge test in around 10 years, when a pensions boom is likely to hit Europe.

The ageing of Europe's population will hit the continent "ruthlessly," the outspoken Dutch politician stated, pointing out euro zone states like Italy are unprepared for the expected jump in pension claims.

These states "will be forced by political pressure to borrow more and increase their budget deficit, with consequences for interest rates and inflation," he indicated.

Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

After late-night talks, the Eurogroup agreed on a €15bn disbursement and debt relief measures for Greece, while setting out a tight monitoring when the bailout ends in August.

Greek bailout exit takes shape

At a meeting next week, eurozone finance ministers and the IMF are expected to agree on new cash, debt relief measures, and a monitoring mechanism to ensure that Greece can live without international aid for the first time since 2010.

Opinion

The risks behind the 'green bond' boom

The EU should not overuse the financial system in order to achieve environmental goals, or it risks the emergence of a green bond bubble which would be detrimental to the financial sector and hinder the achievement of climate targets.

Opinion

Eurozone needs institutional reform

Both the examples of Greece and Italy test the limits of a system with inherent weaknesses that feeds internal gaps, strengthens deficits and debts in the European South, and surpluses in the European North respectively.

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