Populist Italian coalition set to challenge ‘shaking’ Europe
ITALY edged towards the formation of a populist, Eurosceptic government yesterday after the Five Star Movement and the hard-right League said they were making good progress in talks.
If a deal can be reached, it will mark the first time that a founding member of the European project is led by populist, anti-eu parties.
“Italy will become a sort of laboratory of populism, capable of alarming our neighbours and allies,” the daily La Repubblica said in a front-page editorial.
Negotiations were due to continue over the weekend and a new government could be announced on Monday after Italian politics had been paralysed since an inconclusive general election on March 4.
If the parties can forge an alliance, they would present a big challenge to the EU just as its energies are focused on Brexit.
The League wants to ditch the euro as Italy’s currency and both parties have blamed Brussels for economic pain caused by austerity policies and for not doing enough to help with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.
With the populist parties seemingly on the verge of taking power, Italy’s president warned that the EU was facing unprecedented challenges but that European integration should continue.
The European edifice is “shaking” and needs urgent maintenance, Sergio Mattarella told a conference outside Florence.
But he also said it was folly to imagine that Europe’s problems could be dealt with at “only the national level”.