Why Did Italy Fall out of Love with Europe?

New MED publication sheds light on the rocky relationship between Italy and the European Union.

As a founding member of the European Communities, for decades, Italy has been an integral part of the pro-European and integrationist force that culminated in the creation of the European Union in the 90s. Yet, in recent years the country underwent a full swing from one of Europe’s most pro-European strongholds to one of its most fervent critics. Successive crises, such as the 2008 financial breakdown and the migratory pressure since 2015, have left many Italians in doubt about the EU’s capacity to find effective policy solutions for the acute problems they face. Furthermore, it seems that the EU’s sometimes lukewarm, sometimes harsh policy reactions have called into question the existence of a European solidarity. Understanding the root causes of Italy’s discontent with the EU may help other Member States and their MPs avoid a similar swing towards anti-EU sentiment. In this publication, Dr. Rosa Balfour and Lorenzo Robustelli examine Italy’s pro-European past, find reasons for the country’s recent turnaround in EU support and offer an outlook on the potential negative repercussions for the future of the EU.

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Photo: “Italy and Europe” by www.davidbaxendale.com is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0