Open Europe Blog

Lega Nord has decided to treat its supporters to a bit of ‘throw back’ party, remembering the days when Italy used the lira as its currency. The party has organised a rally in Avio (north-eastern Italy, where else?) for this weekend, at which the lira will be used as the only official currency. Interestingly, the two Lega Nord MPs who promoted the rally – Maurizio Fugatti and Sergio Divina – have decided to officially invite Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

The two said in a joint statement,

“This will be the opportunity to show to the technocrats and the enlightened bureaucrats who built this Europe, including Prime Minister Mario Monti, the damages caused by the euro, which they decided to introduce sitting around a table without the people’s approval – the consequences of which the citizens are now paying every day in terms of cost of living. The need for a popular referendum is now evident, so that those who work and pay taxes can express their opinion on Europe and the euro.” 

It is the second time in only a couple of days that Italian politicians use the words ‘euro’ and ‘referendum’ in the same sentence. From the opposite side of the political spectrum, Italian comedian Beppe Grillo – whose Five Star Movement has been consistently polling at over 20% during the past few months – wrote on his blog recently,

“A referendum on the euro and the restructuring of [Italy’s public] debt is ever more necessary. See you in parliament…It will be a pleasure.” 

Neither of these parties is likely to be in government after next year’s elections, and recent opinion polls suggest that a referendum on the euro would see a quite clear victory for the ‘stay inside’ camp. However, as we noted several times before (see here, here and here), such a change in rhetoric and the fact that cross-party support for the single currency can no longer be taken for granted in Italy is in itself very significant.

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