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Italians want the UE – for many, better without the single currency

Italians want the UE – for many, better without the single currency

This the content of a SWG survey for the Northern League, partially “extorted” from Salvini by journalists in Brussels on tuesday


Italians’ trust in the EU is on the rise, but the relationship remains complex; in addition, a large part of the electorate would re-discuss the single currency system from its very beginning. This is shown by a SWG survey commissioned by the Italian Northern League that NL’s head, Matteo Salvini, has partially “revealed” during a meeting with journalists in Brussels on tuesday.

Italian’s trust in the EU had been decreasing lately, but first 2014 survey registers a clear general recovery from 2013: “Confident and moderately confident” rise up to 39 percent (prior: 33 percent). Still quite low – it means 66 percent of Italians are not confident, and that is huge. The most optimistic people, centre-left wing voters (58 percent); the least, Northern League voters (10 percent).

On the other hand, an exit from the European Union is not a reliable option, even for right-wing parties and NL. Among the LN voters, only 25 percent sees the exit as a reliable possibility, in the centre-right wing parties only 23 percent. However, percentages on the issue follow an upwards trend.

34 percent of Italians feel they are “Italian only” – with a 6 percent increase from last year, while 30% feels “Italian and European” – with a 6 percent decrease from 2011. Asked whether Italy has benefited from the EU membership or not, 47 percent said “no” (a strong increase from 2011 figures), while 19 percent said it has benefited (increased from 2011, but still a very low percentage). Among negative answers, the highest percentage belongs to Northern League voters, then centre-right wing voters; the highest percentage of positive answers belongs to centre-left wing voters.

The key question was “Some say Italy would be better off out of the single currency system. Do you agree?” Italians give different answers, even if they are increasingly in favour of the single currency. Two years ago, 33 percent of Italians saw a €exit as a positive element: they are now 32 percent while 49 percent is against it (a remarkable decrease from the 2012 57 percent). In two years, “uncertain” people rose from 10 to 19 percent. Among the LN voters, 59 percent would like to see an immediate €exit, as 48 percent of potential LN voters and 43 percent of centre-right wing parties would. Among centre-left wing voters, an impressive 73 percent says “no” to a possible €exit, even if 15 percent would see it as practicable, according to SWG.

This is why Salvini focused his campaign on the issue: a “No Euro Tour” will start on February 8 and will include several northern and central Italian cities. “You can either die into the € system,” says Salvini, “or try to save you outside it.”