Italexit campaigner and founder of a new political party with the primary aim of taking the EU founding member state out of the bloc, Gianluigi Paragone, told Express.co.uk it is time for Italy to plan new bilateral agreements with third countries across the world to resuscitate its economy as an independent and sovereign nation outside of the bloc. Asked how he would respond to those who say it is “too late” for Italy to go back to its national currency after the euro, he said: “Too late for which chronometer, for which clock? If the clock is that of history, ‘too late’ is really too relative.
“As for the difficulties that Italy would encounter, today in the European Union we are destined to become increasingly impoverished and we will be exposed to assets that the EU can’t wait to apply.
“On the contrary, I think an Italy that returns to being a fully sovereign country, also and above all from a monetary point of view, has the possibility of engaging with other economies through bilateral agreements.
“In an economy that is increasingly made up of relationships, it is better to be alone and safe than to be inside a dynamic such as that of the European Union.”
Italy is now the bookmakers’ favourite to be the next country to quit the European Union as an explosive new report predicted the “possible implosion” of the Eurozone in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
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A research paper by EconPol Europe suggested Italy and the most vulnerable members of the EU’s single currency bloc face being plunged into “quasi-stagnation” as a result of the lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Its authors, Luigi Bonatti and Andrea Fracasso, said ailing economies could become “serious risks of contagion” if they are allowed to fail by decision-makers.
They say German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to pave the way for common European debt is only a short-term fix to the financial woes faced by Rome.
Their report states: “The risk that Italy’s fragile financial, economic and political situation, exacerbated by the current crisis, could destabilise the entire Eurozone in the absence of sizeable external assistance was probably one of the main determinants of the German government’s policy shift.
“We argue that, although this shift is sufficient to prevent Italy from plunging into a major financial and political crisis in the short term, thus buying time, it is far from sure that it will be sufficient to drive Italy into a sustainable and satisfactory growth path, so as to avoid that in the longer term it will be in need of further financial support from EU institutions and member states.
“Hence, the latter may again face the dilemma of whether to provide financial assistance to the Eurozone most vulnerable countries, thus making permanent what was supposed to be temporary, or exposing the Eurozone to a possible implosion.”
Italy, the EU’s third-largest economy, is set to receive as much as €209 billion from the bloc’s coronavirus recovery fund.
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The scheme was worked up during an acrimonious summit in July, and will see the bloc borrow €750 billion on the international markets to hand out as grants and low-cost loans to pandemic-ravaged regions and industries.
But despite the assistance, bookmakers are still backing Rome to be the next capital to quit the EU.
Without referencing the report, Joe Short, a political betting analyst at Gambling.com, said: “In Italy, discontent with the bloc has been growing since the 2018 general election, during which the populist League and Five Star Movement parties were brought to power.
“The Parties have pushed anti-immigration, euroscepticism and populism as their main policies, but have also been balanced out of the Democratic Party’s left-wing stance.
“And before the coronavirus pandemic took a serious grip on the nation, Italy seemed on a likely course to a referendum on leaving the EU.”
According to the Oddschecker website, Italy are a 3/1 favourite to be the next country to leave the EU.