Italy PM fears rise in nationalism as anti-EU sentiment grows

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has expressed concern at the possible rise in nationalism in the country as anger at the EU’s response to the Coronavirus crisis grows. 

Italy has now suffered nearly 11,000 deaths due to Covid-19, but there is a faint hope that the numbers are beginning to slow. In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, the Italian prime minister commented, “We are near the peak” of the Coronavirus emergency, but that “it is difficult to make exact predictions” about when lockdown measures can be relaxed. 

However, concerns are now turning to the economic situation in the country. Current lockdown measures have halted all but essential businesses and industries across the nation. Conte maintains that the strict lockdown measures in place are the correct method for tackling the virus, but laments that requests by Italy to the EU have not been granted. 

Referring to the EU, Conte remarks, “they reason with an antiquated mentality.” “We are limiting the constitutional rights of our citizens,” he continues, “and Europe must react to avoid tragic errors.” 

Conte voices regret that the EU has not moved to assist the country, commenting, “No country, including those who believe they will suffer a smaller impact, is excluded from this crisis. Europe must respond to the challenge of the global market.”

The Premier also raises concerns that “nationalist instincts” in the country will flourish if the EU does not take united action against the crisis. Once the Coronavirus emergency has passed, he warns, the country will be left with high levels of unemployment, which the EU needs to help resolve. 

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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