The warning comes from economist Roger Bootle who told Brexit Watch he believes the mood in Italy over the benefits of the European Union membership has drastically changed. Mr Bootle claims Italians were among those who were most excited to join the EU at first, but now think the bloc is a burden. He said: “It is Italy that all along I thought it is likely to cause the biggest problems because, of course, it is under enormous economic strain.
“But also, it’s a big and significant country.
“And interestingly, Italians were originally among the most enthusiastic supporters of the European Union and one can understand why.
“They came to it with a feeling that they wanted to escape from their own misgovernment, which has been the history of Italy for I don’t know how many years.
“So they saw the EU as some sort of saviour from themselves.
“And then gradually, of course, it’s become clear that it’s not that at all. So against that backdrop, the opinion poll that was published recently in Italy, showing two-thirds of Italians are now thinking that the EU was a burden to Italy and Italy would be better off outside the EU.
“That’s quite a revelation.”
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It comes after reports a new political party will be formed in Italy to remove the Mediterranean country from the EU.
Gianluigi Paragone, former M5S member, said there is “room for an anti-system party” that supports Italy unshackling itself from the Brussels bloc and leaving the eurozone.
Rome continues to be furious over Brussels’ handling and lack of support during the coronavirus pandemic, raising speculation it will be the next country to leave the EU after Britain.
The move by a founding member of the EU could trigger a catastrophic collapse in the bloc.
Mr Paragone said: “I am about to found a new political movement which, in article 1 of the statute, has as its first objective the exit of Italy from the European Union and the Euro.”
Making his case for Italexit, he said the EU’s single currency would “completely destroy the lives of Italians” as he warned “Europe can’t be fixed”.
Mr Paragone added: “Before the Euro completely destroys the lives of Italians, it is necessary to begin a path of exit from the European Union and from the Eurozone.
“I don’t believe in the irreversibility of the Euro, in Mario Draghi’s saving proposals. I don’t think Europe can be fixed.”
Speaking about his new party, which has not yet been named, he said the EU project was “destined to fail”.
He said: “We will present this project little by little.
“There is a huge space left by those who thought of exploiting this battle for electoral purposes, but then did not have the courage to go all the way.
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“I am in contact with technicians and with macro-economic schools of thought with this political thesis.
“The most important thing is to go with a political thesis: I think I’m on the right side of history.
“The EU is a project destined to fail. We are doing a great job, then we will present it.
“The anti-system and anti-Euro space that exists must be filled with one strong political force.”
The EU has faced severe pressure over the lack of support for both Italy and Spain during the pandemic.
Although the EU has put forward a €500bn (£446billion) economic recovery fund, Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte has previously criticised the bloc for the lack of action earlier on.