‘They should be thriving!’ Thinktank warns Italy is ‘one to watch’ as Euroscepticism grows

Italy 'one to watch' in EU as nation 'suffers' says Oulds

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Director of Bruges Group and author of Moralitis, A Cultural Virus Robert Oulds warned Italy’s economy should be thriving but the effect of the pandemic and the poor handling of it has meant the country is struggling. Italy’s economy was one of the few EU nations to not fully recover following to 2008 financial crash with the pandemic throwing a huge obstacle in the country’s way. Euroscepticism has seen a rise in Italy as many blame the EU over its poor procurement of vaccines with Mr Oulds stating more Italians are looking at economic systems not tied to the Euro and its banks. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Oulds was asked how the pandemic has affected Euroscepticism on the continent. 

He said: “There’s been a great deal of dissatisfaction with the European Union in Italy, that is really one to watch.

“The Italian economy should be striving ahead, it’s a creative country, some parts of Italy are fairly prosperous indeed.

“But being stuck in the Euro they’ve suffered greatly it’s enabled Germany to dominate their markets and there’s been next to no economic growth and the debt levels are rising to unsustainable levels.

“They’re basically being kept afloat by artificial means by the European Central Bank having a massive amount of quantitative easing and just injecting money, that’s the really only way that they kept their economy functioning but avoiding a total collapse.”

Italy is set to receive the largest share of the EU’s recovery fund – taking around €191.5billion from the bloc. 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was appointed in February by President Sergio Mattarella due to his economic expertise as a way to solve Italy’s money problems. 

Mr Draghi will use the majority of the rescue fund to invest in key areas of Italy’s economy to kickstart it once more. 

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But Mr Oulds added: “This cannot carry on forever, they need to realise that they need to be outside of European Union structures to have prosperity.

“Not only to have the vaccinations, to control their own immigration policies but also to make sure their countries start working again so they can run their own affairs and that’s actually going to be absolutely critical.

“So we will see change happening, it may take a long time but the European Union is going backwards economically in terms of global growth.

“It’s not offering any opportunities to its own young people and can’t even save its own lives, offered no help to countries such as Italy when they actually had a really severe outbreak of Covid a year ago.”

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Italy has one of the worst death rates in Europe and was one of the first countries put into lockdown in 2020 following COVID-19 being detected in Europe. 

Italy’s debt is set to rise to 160 percent of GDP this year as key sectors like tourism have been battered by the pandemic. 

The country’s GDP fell by 17.3 percent in 2020’s second quarter. 

The UK’s debt to GDP ratio is around 75 percent with neighbouring France at 115 percent. 

The Italexit party was launched in 2020 by former Five Star Movement politician Gianluigi Paragone who has been campaigning for Italy to leave the European Union. 

While a relatively small and new party, the group has seen a rise in support as polls suggest Euroscepticism is on the rise. 

According to the BBC, 42 percent of Italians say they would leave the EU in April 2020 which was up from 26 percent in November 2018.

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