US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The EU economic plan to deal with the consequences of the epidemic is under discussion, and quarantine in Italy will last until the first of May. The country begins the third and most controversial phase of political debate.
The first phase began in March, when the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic began to worsen. At that moment, most Italian politicians were ready to stick together to fight the spread of the virus. Matteo Salvini, leader of the North League, and his opponent, leader of the Italy Brothers party, George Giorgia Meloni, chose a different line of behavior. They actively use propaganda, but they have only 22% of the seats in parliament.
In April, the second stage began – a manifestation of solidarity. Italy was the main candidate for medical care from the European Union, its member countries, the United States and from China and Russia. It was at this stage that the political split of the government coalition gradually began to mature.
On the one hand, the Italian political party The Five Star Movement is actively advocating gratitude to China and Russia for friendship and support. For example, the party believes that China provided assistance in response to Italy’s active participation in the initiative to create a new silk road “One Belt, One Path”. According to representatives of the Five Star Movement party, Italian investment in this common project allowed for a more effective response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party expressed its gratitude to Washington and Brussels, thereby trying to strengthen Italy’s European and transatlantic relations. The Democratic Party does not belittle the support provided by Moscow and Beijing, but insists that Italy needs to be more careful when openly admiring these countries. Such behavior could jeopardize stronger and more structured relations with the EU and NATO.
The second stage is distinguished by several key aspects. Russia has traditionally been a close friend of the right, for example, Matteo Salvini or former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. She now works directly with the Five Star Movement, which opposes the ruling circles, and with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who has a centrist position. However, due to the untimely and inadequate response of the Government to the alleged threats The Ministry of Defense of Russia to the journalist of the newspaper “Stump” there was some uncertainty. The gap between the way Rome views relations with Moscow and public opinion is becoming wider. Most Italians do not consider Russia a best friend. Despite this, the Italian government, or at least half of it, included Russia in the list of countries that were the first to respond to Italy’s calls for international solidarity.
Another important aspect of the second stage is that the only party celebrating Italy’s role in the One Belt, One Way project, namely the Five Star Movement, supports Beijing’s “mask diplomacy”. According to this diplomacy, China rescues other countries by providing them with medical supplies. While many Western powers have expressed doubts about China’s role in spreading the virus around the world, half of the Italian government has become a symbol of Chinese assistance to the European Union and its member states. This only confirms the fact that the Five Star Movement acts as a lobbyist for China in Italy.
The European Union has lost the most at this stage. From the very beginning, he could not clearly explain how his measures to resolve the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic would help protect the health and ensure the safety of Europeans. Italians are unlikely to forget how angry they were with the preliminary remarks made by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The consequences are already obvious: now 49% of Italians want to leave the EU. Since November 2018, this figure has increased by 20%.
In addition, according to a survey published in the first week of April, 36% of Italians believe that China should be Italy’s main ally outside the EU. 30% believe that the United States should become such an ally. 34% of respondents were undecided. Among those who support China, 53% voted for the Five Star Movement, and 45% voted for the Democratic Party.
Among US supporters, 51% of those polled voted for right-wing parties. Consequently, voters who supported the government coalition are in favor of developing relations with China than the United States. Italians seem to no longer consider Russia a reliable ally. Perhaps due to the fact that the opinion of Salvini, who advocated cooperation with Russia, lost its weight after he left the government.
The European Union has presented a trillion euro plan to support the economy, which will lead to an even greater split between Italian politicians. The Democratic Party will continue to actively support the exceptional measures proposed by the EU. She is convinced that Italy cannot count on great economic assistance or benefits from the Union. At the same time, parties in favor of sovereignty will ask Roberto Gualtieri, the Minister of Economics, or even the entire government to resign, exposing the adoption of the agreement with the EU as a betrayal.
The Five Star Movement, which was behind Conte’s appointment as prime minister, will continue to be divided into those who work behind the scenes to provide Italy with a stronger position, and those who work in various institutions, who will be very careful about the European agreement. For example, ministers from the Five Star Movement party.
The fourth stage will begin when the government begins to gradually quarantine, and citizens return to normal life. Politicians will appreciate their efforts to resolve the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, as well as a plan to restore the Italian economy. Soon, Italian leaders will have to face an unprecedented wave of criticism. A serious conflict is brewing in Italy, which can have grave consequences not only for the future of Europe, but also for the European Union, which is already being tested in these difficult times. Despite all this, in the fourth stage, the EU has a key role to play in resolving this conflict. He will be able to do this if he unites and overcomes the differences between the north and the south, putting solidarity at the heart of a policy aimed at solving future problems.
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