By Monica Showalter
Now that Italy has recorded its 10,000th coronavirus death, a third of the global total, and nearly a thousand just yesterday, Italians are questioning the value of globalism, and more specifically asking what good its European Union membership does it. Sentiment is soaring for getting out and going it alone. Britain did it, why not Italy?
Locals are now burning European Union flags, and Italian politicians are ramping up the talk about getting the heck out of the European Union altogether. I suspected this was going to happen during the Italian balcony singing event, noting that most of the songs sung were classical Italian songs, not global pop hits.
The horror has since increased in that country and here’s what’s now going around on Twitter:
The discontent has boiled right into the halls of the European Union, which one Italian pol is calling “a den of snakes and jackals,” calling for an “Italexit” or an Italian pullout from the European Union altogether.
There’s quite a bit of bitterness — and it’s quite sparsely reported, the most reliable source of which is the pro-Brexit Express of London:
Here’s March 29, today:
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked an unprecedented crisis throughout the European Union, with a huge rift erupting between the 27 member-states. This week’s failure to agree a joint EU economic response to the crisis has already set off a wave of furious criticism from leaders in Italy, Portugal and Spain. On Thursday, Germany, the Netherlands and other northern European countries rejected the plea of nine EU countries for so-called “corona-bonds” to soften the economic impact of the pandemic.
Following the heated exchanges, Italian newspaper headlines condemned the EU response, describing Brussels as “dead” and “ugly”.
Former Italian Prime Minister and main opposition leader Matteo Salvini said Italy should consider leaving the European Union once the country wins its fight against the outbreak.
On Friday he tweeted: “First let’s beat the virus, then think about Europe again. And, if necessary, say goodbye. Without even thanking it.”
Translation: No $1,200 coronavirus checks for you. That has got to be painful for Italy which is suffering so severely in the open borders of the European Union.
Here’s March 13:
Enrico Franceschini, the foreign correspondent for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, warned Brussels response reignited fears of a resurgence of demands for Italexit.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Franceschini said: “Italy expects more of Europe at this time.
“Christine Lagarde from the Cental Bank…people were very disappointed.
“Decisions have to show that we are in this all together otherwise Italians are warning we might have again people pushing for Italexit after Brexit.”
Here’s another March 13, over the European Central Bank’s refusal to issue bonds to help Italy recover. Italy was told in this instance it was on its own.
Mr Trichet’s comments came after his successor Christine Lagarde sparked controversy after failing to confirm the ECB will do “whatever it takes” to protect the eurozone from a potential recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Lagarde confirmed the institution will roll out measures to support commercial bank lending, effectively signalling governments are responsible for protecting the economies of indebted eurozone countries rather than the ECBs.
There is an argument to be made that this is an external shock, not typical Italian government bad bookkeeping going on here, which could justify the issuance of bonds to be repaid when the economy returns to normal. Italy’s being treated like a typical miscreant instead, which has got to be infuriating to them.
What the Italians have learned in this instance is that globalization, as personified by the European Union, has failed. In their hour of need, they’re getting aid from places like Albania, Russia and Cuba, not their big EU neighbors. Oh, the Germans did send in a jet the other day for grave cases to be taken to Germany for treatment – but the plane houses 44. It’s unlikely to make much difference given what Italy is up against.
Caroline Glick wrote a tremendous piece on the high cost of globalization, citing Israel but the lesson applies to every nation in terms of its survival:
The coronavirus pandemic won’t destroy global markets. But it will change them radically and reduce their size and scope. In the case of agriculture, the coronavirus has exposed large-scale vulnerabilities in both agricultural import models and domestic production. At the outset of the crisis, cargo ships laden with foodstuffs from China and Italy were laid up in the ports for weeks until port workers and the Health Ministry could develop protocols for safely offloading them. Dozens of shipments were diverted to Cyprus, at great cost to importers.
Who is to say that food supplies in China or other countries won’t be compromised again in the future? And what happens in the event of war? Naval warfare can easily endanger food imports to Israel over a prolonged period. The model of dependence on foreign suppliers needs to be adapted in the face of what we are learning.
Nowhere is that more evident than Italy, whose nationalistic moves against the EU – are effectively an effort to save itself from total destruction.