Spain and Italy have been abandoned by the EU
1 April 2020
If ever there was a time for the EU to show the benefit of belonging to an economic bloc with coherent cross-border cooperation you would think it would be now. But that is not quite how things are working out. On the contrary, the EU has erupted into open warfare between north and south. The rifts caused by the 2008/09 financial crisis have been torn open again, with Italy and Spain desperately pleading for help from a reluctant Germany and other northern countries.
If anyone thought harmony would reign once troublesome Britain was out of the EU, there was not much evidence of it at a virtual summit held last week to discuss the coronavirus crisis. Italy and Spain pleaded for an EU ‘Marshall Plan’ to lift their already flagging economies, which have never fully recovered from the sovereign debt crisis which followed the last recession. But they were rebuffed by Germany and the Netherlands. They also asked for ‘coronabonds’ to fund the recovery from the crisis, only for that to be dismissed, too. Angela Merkel insisted that Italy and Spain, both deeply damaged from three weeks’ lockdown, apply instead to the European Stability Mechanism, which southern countries blame for the depth of Greece’s problems ten years ago. ‘If what you’re waiting for is coronabonds, they’re never going to arrive,’ she reportedly told the Italians and Spanish. Ouch!
Read more at https://www.spectator.co.uk/
Whatever it takes: Italy and the Covid-19 crisis
By Teresa Coratella
18th March, 2020
As an Italian, I’ve become used to rhetorical blows from European commentators, policymakers, and media outlets – and I know that more will come soon in this crisis. However, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde’s recent statement that “we are not here to close spreads” – which caused a sharp rise in Italian bond yields – was one the strongest slaps in the face Italy has received in recent years. Even if it was followed by the European Union’s clear declaration of support for Italy and other member states affected by Covid-19, the episode was reminiscent of the euro crisis. In 2012, with the spectre of disaster looming over them, Italians were caught up in the consequences of financial events largely beyond their control.
As though a chill had run down their collective spine, many Italians initially reacted to Lagarde’s statement with astonishment: how was it possible that, in such a serious crisis, the president of the ECB could speak in this way? Italy has never been so united as it was after Lagarde’s words, with the president, the prime minister, and the members of the ruling coalition – the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement – all condemning her statement.
Read more at https://www.ecfr.eu/
Reaction grows against EU in Italy as politicians start to remove bloc’s flags
Apr 01, 2020
The public reaction against the European Union in Italy is growing as people have bombarded the bloc with allegations of insufficient support amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In recent days, some Italians uploaded videos on social media in which they hoist the flag of China and Russia instead of the EU’s 12 stars. Both China and Russia have delivered medical teams and equipment to the virus-hit country, while the EU reportedly remains unresponsive to the crisis.
Politicians also started to join the Italian’s protests as the number of deaths passed 12,000 on Tuesday. In a video, a member of Italian Fratelli d’Italia, Fabio Rampelli is seen removing the EU flag from his chambers, replacing it with the Italian national flag.
Read more at https://www.dailysabah.com