Europe's role in Italy's crisis?

The triumph of Eurosceptic parties, a controversial decision by the president, nervous financial markets, and all this against the backdrop of the Greek crisis. The political crisis in Rome prompts commentators to ask to what extent the problems are a result of EU and European structures.

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Le Temps (CH) /

Left in the lurch on the migrant issue

Europe and above all Switzerland bear a good deal of responsibility for the crisis, writes Aldo Brina of the Centre Social Protestant in Le Temps:

“Several factors have allowed anti-European populists to come to power in Italy. But to stress one factor which many observers believe is decisive: part of Italian society believes it has been abandoned by the other European countries on the issue of migration. You can't say they're entirely wrong, and unfortunately Switzerland is one of the countries that bears the most responsibility for this situation. ... You can't send back thousands of people year after year based on regulations that fly in the face of common sense and then be surprised when one day the backlash finally comes.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Eurozone lacks financial redistribution mechanism

The crisis in Italy can be put down to economic causes, writes Patrick Artus, Chief Economist and Executive Committee Member of the French investment bank Natixis, in Les Echos:

“But it was also triggered by the institutional weaknesses of the Eurozone. The lack of federalism has had two negative consequences. First of all there is no mechanism for balancing out the revenue differential between the countries of the Eurozone. Rich countries with strong growth don't give anything to poor countries with weak growth. Per capita GDP in Italy has dropped by 30 percent in comparison with Germany, while the buying power of Italian households has fallen by 12 percent in absolute terms since 2007. It's impoverishment that has driven the Italians into the arms of the populists. The second consequence is that there is no collective risk-sharing agreement for national debts among the countries of the Eurozone.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Chauvinism as harmful as protectionism

If Europe doesn't form a united front against chauvinism it will destroy the EU, journalists Federico Fubini and Wolfgang Münchau warn in Corriere della Sera:

“The example of Italy highlights the reasons for the present state of affairs. ... These reasons tell us that the reforms that can truly make the Eurozone more 'resilient' cannot be confined to some kind of new financial mechanism. The transformation that Europe needs must be of a political nature: the EU countries must learn to fight chauvinism together, as they fought protectionism after the Great Depression. ... But we doubt that we can learn the lesson soon enough. We are simply looking on, as we did back then.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Pro-Europeans' dream will end in disaster

EU advocates are willing to pay any price to achieve their foolish goals, The Daily Telegraph rails:

“The worldview that motivates many true European believers is based on a simple, yet demonstrably flawed, premise: that 'disunity' and the existence of competing nation-states is what caused the First and Second World Wars, and so the creation of a single European state is the only way to save Europe from itself. ... Hence the pro-EU side's ruthlessness, the increasingly successful attempts at stopping a meaningful Brexit, the support for Madrid's obscene crushing of the pro-Catalan independence movement, and now the rejection by the Italian president of a Eurosceptic finance minister.”

Wpolityce.pl (PL) /

It's all Germany's fault

Michał Karnowski, one of the editors of the right-wing website Wpolityce.pl, sees Germany as the main threat to Europe's unity:

“Every few months the European establishment, which is controlled by the German media and Berlin politicians, sounds the alarm that another country is starting to 'rebel'. ... The Hungarians because they dreamed of a democracy not preceded by the adjective 'liberal'; the Poles because they put their faith in Kaczyński; the Austrians because they made the wrong choice in the elections; the Italians because they rejected the left. With each month that passes the question of how it is possible that only Germany feels happy in the EU becomes more urgent. ... If the EU project collapses at some point, the Germans will be the only ones to blame. Once again they want to have it all, once again they could lose everything and unleash a huge tragedy upon the continent.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Urban-rural divide paves the way for populists

The Italian populists' election victory has the same causes as the victory of the Leave camp in the Brexit referendum, Le Monde comments:

“The European recovery above all benefits the big cities to the detriment of the less dynamic regions, where factory relocations and closures are a daily occurrence. ... The inhabitants of the big cities feel more involved in globalisation than those living elsewhere and are less susceptible to the arguments of populists, eurosceptics and protectionists - and therefore less inclined to vote for them. Such territorial dualism is not just worrying because of its impact on elections. In the long term it's also a handicap for countries' growth potential.”

Yeni Şafak (TR) /

Italy could usher in the end for Europe

Alienated from Europe, Italy could drag the whole continent into the abyss, Yeni Şafak warns:

“The Italians have long since severed their emotional bonds with the EU: as a result of the EU debt crisis, the bitter austerity policy presented by Brussels, Berlin and Paris, the north-south divide that has been growing since the foundation of the EU, and the mismanagement of the refugee crisis - which in turn is a result of the US's erroneous Middle East policy. ... Young and middle-aged voters in Italy have long since come to see the Five Star Movement as Italy's salvation and the destination at which other European countries will also arrive. ... The impact of this new populist movement that campaigns against Europe and globalisation and for environmental protection could indeed be the last stop for Europe's future. It's already clear that this would be a destructive ending.”