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The coronavirus crisis has put the weakening EU under strain and there is fury in Italy over the way it was abandoned by its European partners during the coronavirus crisis.
And Minister-President of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, has warned without the UK and Italy, there will no longer be a “strong Europe”.
He told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “Brexit is now underway.
“I still cannot imagine a strong Europe without the United Kingdom, but without Italy, little remains of the original idea.
“The Treaty of Rome was the basis of the EU.
“Italy is the cultural and historical centre of Europe.”
He noted how the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 has “deeply affected and injured Italy”.
Mr Soeder said: “What happens in Italy affects all of us.
“Therefore, it is better to help with reason and wisdom instead of walking away and contemplating that ruins of Europe.
“This is a historic turning point in Europe. We can’t fail.”
He said the “psychological impact” of late or poor help from the EU towards Italy during the pandemic should not be underestimated as there is a “risk of a second Brexit”.
Mr Soeder added: “Europe without Italy or Spain is no longer Europe as we know it, so the EU would no longer make sense.”
Talks of Italy leaving the EU have escalated due to the ongoing pandemic and pro-EU billionaire businessman George Soros previously echoed Mr Soeder’s notion that without Italy there will be no Europe.
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He also mentioned how Italy were “badly treated” during the refugee crisis in 2015.
In an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, he said: “I am particularly concerned about Italy. What would be left of Europe without Italy?
“Italy used to be the most pro-European country.
“Italians trusted Europe more than their own governments, and with good reason.
“But they were badly treated during the refugee crisis of 2015.
“The EU enforced the so-called Dublin Regulations that put all the burden on the countries where refugees first landed and did not offer any financial burden sharing.
“That is when Italians decide to vote for Matteo Salvini’s Lega and the Five Star Movement in a landslide.
“More recently, the relaxation of state aid rules, which favour Germany, has been particularly unfair to Italy, which was already the sick man of Europe and then the hardest hit by COVID-19.”
Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, also believes that Italy will be next to leave the EU.
He said: “Italy has suffered horrendously since it joined the wrong currency and when the Covid 19 crisis came the EU did not offer a hand of friendship.”
He added that Italy’s problems underline why Britain needs to finish the job of leaving the EU and end the transition period on time on December 31.
Remainers and the EU are pushing for the UK Government to extend transition which would mean while not a member Britain would still have to obey EU rules and pay even more money to Brussels’ coffers.
But Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost and cabinet office minister Michael Gove have insisted that transition will not be extended.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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