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The ‘Trump Effect’ in Italy

Feb. 2, 2017 (EIRNS)—A so-called "sovereign" front is being formed in Italy, with an eye to the possible early national elections and the idea of putting together all forces which are against the euro and for a return to national sovereignty. The name of the group is "Italia Sovrana" and it is a mixed bag, with populists such as the Lega Nord and Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), but also a faction in Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (although Berlusconi is not yet convinced), and mavericks such as Giulio Tremonti on the sidelines. This group held a large rally in Rome on Jan. 28. Lega head Matteo Salvini is profiling himself as the candidate for Prime Minister.

A Jan. 31 event in Milan showed the potential for turning this populist coalition into something better than a populist revolt. Under the banner "Beyond the euro—becoming great again" (a play on Trump’s slogan), the podium was shared by Lega head Matteo Salvini, economist Claudio Borghi (also Lega Nord), leftist economist Alberto Bagnai, and independent Member of the European Parliament Marco Zanni. Later on, journalist and blogger Marcello Foa was also invited to the podium.

Although the event was aimed at raising Salvini’s profile, and the moderator was a shrill populist journalist, the intellectual leadership was de facto taken by Zanni, Bagnai, and Foa.

Among other things, Zanni listed four points: 1. Leaving the euro; 2. Bringing the Bank of Italy back under the Treasury; 3. Banking separation; 4. "A large public investment plan in industry, research and above all, with reference to all natural disasters we are living through in Italy, to improve the territory" with infrastructure. It is ridiculous that Italy has spent over €60 billion on the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism for European Union bailouts, but is not allowed to spend a cent to save the lives of its citizens.