21st Century Wire says…
Brussels just trembled this week. The BREXIT populist wave is now sweeping into southern Europe, but now it’s not just about EU membership – it’s about the single currency.
In yet another blow to center-left politics, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has announced his intention to resign following a dramatic voter rejection of his constitutional reforms package.
This unexpected shift in Italian politics could very well trigger calls for Italy to ‘rethink’ its relationship with Brussels.
If Renzi (photo, left) has his resignation accepted, then the government would be handed over to a ‘care taker’ leader until the next General Election scheduled for 2018, or until a snap election is called. Before any snap election can be called, elite bureaucrats are furiously trying to rewrite Italy’s election laws allegedly to keep “Far Right” parties, like the surging Northern League out of power, but in reality these desperate measures are designed to prevent widely popular insurgent parties like 5 Star from gaining a majority in Parliament.
Political satirist and founder of Italy 5 Star Movement, Beppe Grillo (Image Source: J Dennehy)
The crisis has emboldened Italy’s popular anti-establishment party, the 5 Star Movement, to intensify its calls for a non-binding referendum on Italy’s membership in the Euro common currency. PM Renzi’s defeat could lead to such a national debate as regular Italians slowly realize that they are no better off after 16 years under the Euro currency regime.
According to the Guardian, former banker technocrat prime minister, Mario Monti, predicts there’ll be no early elections called and that a new centre-left government will be formed and with austerity measures put into place to save money.
“Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme, Monti said: “I do not believe there will be early elections. I’m convinced that the president of the republic, in his wisdom, will find a solution within the space of the current political majority of the centre left. He said there was no need for alarm. “In the financial markets the reactions are considerably cooler than many feared,” Monti said.”
Italy is not alone in southern Europe’s race to the economic bottom. Both Greece and Spain have suffered economically under EU management. Italy’s move could inspire a similar wave of reform and call for independence for those countries robbed of their purchasing power and jobs under Brussles authoritarian economic and political regime.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the British establishment is doing all it can to delay and eventually sideline Great Britain’s own exit process out of the EU.
Of course, this goes much deeper even than Italian politics – it has geopolitical dimension to it. Exactly one year ago, 21WIRE’s Patrick Henningsen reported on how Washington-led and Brussels parroting of Anti-Russian sanctions have damaged many EU member economies, including Italy’s:
“No matter how you cut it, Europe must have total political unity in order to maintain any international sanctions regime against Moscow. The EU’s original plan was to simply wave through” the extension of Russian sanctions as a minor agenda note, hoping that no one would notice or demand any debate on what appears to be a Washington-imposed policy of geopolitical containment aimed at Russia. Brussels technocrats may have expressed some public shock that Italy would dare to attempt to force a democratic debate on the issue, but in private you can be sure that Washington dissenters are everywhere.”
Thompson Reuters then reported last December 2015:
“Italy unexpectedly demanded that a mooted extension of the European Union’s economic sanctions on Russia go for further discussion within the bloc rather than be rubber-stamped by EU envoys who met on Wednesday. The envoys aimed to approve a six-month extension to the sanctions, imposed on Moscow last year over the Ukraine crisis, without discussion after an agreement by EU leaders – including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi – in the wings of the Group of 20 summit in Turkey last month.”
Anti-Russian sanctions are believed to have placed at least 150,000 Italian jobs at stake.
If Italy bolts from Russian sanctions, then others will too. This would be seen as a major defeat for the establishment in both Washington and London.
And then there’s the Euro question. 2017 will be a very interesting year indeed.
More from the Wall Street Journal…
Italy Voters Deliver Blow to Battered Euro Project
The Euro rallied from early losses following Italian voters’ rejection of government-backed constitutional changes, but the volatile day raises concerns about how the currency survives an era of populist politicians and diverging economies…
RED MORE BREXIT NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Brexit Files