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ITALEXIT: Now former Italian PM warns Brussels ‘other countries could abandon EU’

Italy’s former Prime Minister has warned Brussels that the aftershock from Brexit is not over and that other nations, including his own were ready to abandon the European Union.


Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has warned Europe is not safe following Brexit

Enrico Letta said “there may not be a Europe to fix” by 2017 unless there was level playing field for every member state.

He called for greater investment in weaker countries rather than relying on bailouts when their economies tanked, which has previously been the blueprint with Greece.

But he also said he hoped Britain’s withdrawal from the EU would bring greater democratisation of the single currency, adding the UK should not be allowed in the single market if it was unwilling to accept free movement.

Letta was speaking to La Stampa after presenting a report, “Growth and the Euro after Brexit” in Berlin.

He said: “We are not safe, other countries could follow London.

“There is not a monetary union without an economic union. We don’t believe in waiting and doing nothing until the German and French elections next year as Berlin and Paris want. We have to move: in September 2017 we might not have an Europe to fix.

“The economic union must generate the lack of investment seen during the years of crisis. Today we need European growth policies.

“We propose, for example, that the Bailout Fund is not used to put out the fire, but to create investment and have immediate reaction mechanisms and avoid calling the IMF as in 2009.”


Italian PM Matteo Renzi, like David Cameron, has gambled his political future on a referendum

We have to move: in September 2017 we might not have an Europe to fix

Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta

Letta said he did not want Britain to leave the EU  but that now that it had happened, the UK must not be allowed to become the “Singapore of Europe.”

But he admitted “the clock was ticking”  citing recent demands by the Visregard Group – the alliance between Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – at the EU summit in Bratislava as proof of a disintegrating union.

Since the UK’s historic vote to withdraw from the EU in June, speculation has been rife as to which country, if any, will next follow Britain out of the bloc.

Italy was once widely considered pro-EU, but the strong showing at the 2013 general elections by the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) suggests attitudes are changing.

And the country is already holding its own referendum in November, which proposes a dramatic constitutional change that would see the influence of the country’s powerful Senate radically reduced, making it easier to pass legislation.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has previously said he would quit if the bill was defeated, a proposition that seemed unlikely a few months ago.

But as with Brexit, there is a growing mood of dissent amongst Italian voters, who could vote against the bill in protest, effectively ousting Renzi.

That could lead to another general election and the possibility of a victory for Five Star and its leader Beppe Grillo – who has promised to hold an referendum on Italy leaving the Euro.

Summit GETTY

Slovakian PM Roberto Fico, Donald Tusk and Jean Claude Juncker at the EU summit in Bratislava

However analysis by Credit Suisse put the chances of Italy withdrawing from the Euro at just one per cent, even if the referendum went against the government.

“The victory of ‘no’ is a real possibility, which could have negative consequences politically, economically and financially, but the impact would be limited,” the bank concluded.

“It should not lead to Italy’s exit from the euro or to new elections.”

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