Take Heed Italy, Brussels Doesn’t Care One Whit About You
Watching the complete betrayal of Brexit by British Prime Minister Theresa “The Gypsum Lady” May is proving to be a wake up call for Italians. The latest polling results coming out of Italy show that while the populist coalition in Italy is unpopular in Brussels, it is still very popular with Italians.
And that’s a good thing because when you look closely at Brexit negotiations,it is clear that all that matters is the EU retaining power over the U.K. and not what is in the best interest of anyone involved, British or otherwise.
The Italian coalition partners still command nearly 60% of all Italians’ support, only their preference has changed. Lega now outpolls Five Star Movement (M5S) 33% to 26%, while the other center-right parties, namely Silvio “Stalking Horse” Berlusconi’s Forza Italia have collapsed (from 14% at March’s elections to just 7% now).
And roughly that same number now see the EU as mistreating Italy. These numbers will only get worse if the EU goes through with levying fines against Italy for submitting a budget Brussels doesn’t like.
Moreover, now we’re seeing support for Italeave rise as well. A recent poll by Politico Magazine posted over at Zerohedge shows a slight majority of Italians under age 45 are ready to do just that, leave the European Union.
The over 45 crowd is still enamored with the ideal of the EU tying together a warring Europe rather than confront the reality of what it actually is, a distant and tyrannical oligarchy led by unelected technocrats with strong ties to old money and old power.
The source of this support comes from, I think, the stark contrast between May’s appeasement of rankled EU leadership over the British people’s temerity to want out of their wretched union and how Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is attacking Brussels’ hypocrisy over fiscal restraints.
Salvini is doing exactly what he needs to do to shore up support and push the Italian electorate away from Brussels. It was a stroke of political genius to submit a budget which placated both halves of the coalition – tax and regulation cuts along with universal basic income – while ever so gently flaunting EU budget rules.
Salvini and his partner in insurrection Luigi Di Maio crafted a perfect piece of political poison for the EU to swallow. There’s nothing really objectionable in the budget proposal. It won’t solve any of Italy’s problems nor make them materially worse.
It was put forth to rankle EU leadership that has grown fat and lazy on having everything rigged in their favor. And they have over-reacted in the most predictable manner.
Think about what the EU is doing over this budget. They are threatening billions in fines to an Italian government that is in debt up to its eyeballs.
This is the very definition of “bad optics.”
But consider the way they’ve handled Brexit. They’ve demanded a massive fee from the U.K. for leaving. This is on top of the money it already pays into the EU budget every year.
And don’t forget folks that the only reason the Italian sovereign debt issue isn’t front page news is because the European Central Bank is the only marginal buyer of Italian debt. And ECB President Mario Draghi isn’t doing this out of the goodness of his Goldman-Sachs-trained heart.
He’s doing it because if he doesn’t, then the entire European banking system collapses.
So this whole thing is nothing more than Kabuki theatre. And Salvini knows it.
He understands that the euro is a death trap for Italy. He also knows he has all the leverage because of the size of the debt pile.
And yet, watching the EU now is exactly like watching it in handle the Greek debt talks in 2015.
They refused to negotiate. They make unreasonable demands. In Greece’s case they had a feckless Greek electorate which wouldn’t back Grexit and give equally feckless Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras the support he needed to take Greece out of the Euro.
So the strategy worked.
And the same thing is happening with Brexit. The British aristocracy do not want to leave the EU. Theresa May is a Remainer and so obviously on the take it’s not even funny at this point. From the beginning she’s had all the leverage and yet she acts as if she doesn’t.
So now she’s thrown together the exact deal that Brussels wanted all along: control over Britain’s tax and trade policy while removing their voice from the EU parliament. Honestly, Britain’s status once this deal is signed off on is simply a glimpse into every country’s future that stays.
Taxation without representation.
It should, then, come as no shock to anyone that the EU is handling Salvini and his government with the same disdain and derision. And that’s exactly what Salvini wants. He has to maneuver Brussels into making them be the bad guys.
Because if he’s going to get Italy free from Brussels, it can’t be his idea. It has to be a popular groundswell.
Thankfully for him and Italians in general, the dopes in high places in Brussels are only too happy to oblige. I think they like being odious jerks, frankly.
They really do think they can lawyer their way through this. But the truth is, they can’t.
Why do you think French President Emmanuel Macron and Lame Duck German Chancellor Angela Merkel want a Grand Army of the EU so badly? It’s to invade and occupy wayward member states, not protect themselves from Russia.
The more the EU tries to bully and force Italy to do what it wants, the more Italians – even older ones – will support Salvini’s crusade against them. Populism is popular all over Europe.
And the EU parliamentary elections in May will likely prove to be a major turning point in the EU’s trajectory. All of the Euroskeptic parties are vastly under-represented versus their current polling numbers. Hundreds of seats are set to change hands in May.
And many of the newcomers will not be in the pay of The Davos Crowd.
Maybe then the EU will realize just how fragile the entire project is.
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