Thursday, May 26, 2005

Even the Italians are falling out of love with the EU

According to a story on Reuter’s website, the Italians are falling out of the EU. No, they are not becoming eurosceptic, various political scientists proclaim but they are rather fed up with what they see as the EU’s demands making the Italian recession worse.

Needless to say, Silvio Berlusconi has been making noises.
“We're pretty tired of all this bureaucracy. We are really determined to do battle over this because Europe's job should not be to create difficulties for member states, but precisely the opposite.”
True enough, though it has taken them a little time to realize the problem. In any case, the statement is not unconnected with Berlusconi’s domestic political problems.

Berlusconi is blaming the euro or, at least, the way it was put into place (the method is always the problem, not the substance) for Italy’s economic difficulties. Popular support for the euro, according to the last Eurobarometer poll, is down to 62 per cent.

Anyone who has visited Italy recently and talked to Italians would know that that is an overestimate. The euro was never all that popular, though the idea of Europe may have been.

It seems to be a given that most Italians are pro EU and Prodi may reap the benefits there. But Berlusconi, who has made great play of standing up for Italy’s interests, may yet surprise us all. Again. After all, opinion appears to be moving in his direction.

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