European panic grows as Italexit looms

Matteo Renzi is having none of it, from The Guardian:

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, has doubled down on a promise to resign if he loses an upcoming referendum, saying the “decrepit system” that would be left in the wake of his defeat would have to be taken care of by someone else.

The vow to leave his seat in Palazzo Chigi comes as polls show the centre-left leader is likely to be heading for defeat on 4 December, and that various strategies to win over Italian voters in the last few weeks have done little to convince them to support Renzi’s proposed constitutional reforms.

“If the citizens vote no and want a decrepit system that does not work, I will not be the one to deal with other parties for a caretaker government, ” Renzi said on Thursday in a radio interview on RTL.

At the beginning of the campaign, Renzi said he would stand down if he lost the vote, but had seemed to back away from the do-or-die strategy in the last few weeks in an effort to depersonalise the campaign and insist the vote was not about him. On Thursday, he returned to square one.

In effect, Renzi’s statement means a victory for the no camp would force Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, to choose the head of an interim government, which would be in place until new elections were held. Renzi would remain head of the centre-left Democratic party.

The finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, and the culture minister, Dario Franceschini, have been mooted as possible interim prime ministers.

“At the end of the day, Renzi will remain the leader of the biggest party in parliament, so most likely we end up with a Mr Nobody as prime minister,” said political analyst Wolfango Piccoli of Teneo Intelligence.

Polls continue to burn red for the PM:


And the panic is spreading, via Reuters:

The European Union is in danger of breaking apart unless France and Germany, in particular, work harder to stimulate growth and employment and heed citizens’ concerns, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in the German capital on Thursday.

Valls said the two countries, for decades the axis around which the EU revolved, had to help refocus the bloc to tackle an immigration crisis, a lack of solidarity between member states, Britain’s looming exit, and terrorism.

“Europe is in danger of falling apart,” Valls said at an event organized by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. “So Germany and France have a huge responsibility.”

He said France must continue to open up its economy, not least by cutting corporate taxation, while Germany and the EU as a whole must increase investment that would stimulate growth and job creation, as well as boosting defense.

As Britain seeks to negotiate its post-Brexit relationship with the EU, hoping to restrict immigration from the EU while maintaining as much access as possible to the EU single market, Valls said it must be prevented from cherry-picking.

“If they are able to have all the advantages of Europe without the inconveniences, then we are opening a window for others to leave the European Union,” Valls said.

Immigration was one of the main drivers of Britons’ vote to leave the EU, and Valls said the bloc, which more than a million migrants entered last year, had to regain control of its borders.

He said the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election victory showed how important it was to listen to angry citizens, and that politicians scared of making decisions were opening the door to populists and demagogues.

In France, opinion polls suggest that the far-right, anti-EU, anti-immigration National Front leader Marine Le Pen will win the first round of the presidential election next April, before losing the runoff.

But Valls said Trump’s victory had boosted the chance of an outright Le Pen victory: “What has changed in the world and Europe since Nov. 8 is that it’s possible.”

He said France’s election debate was “ignoring the danger posed by the far-right”, adding: “We face a historic moment … perilous for the world, perilous for Europe and perilous for France.”

No mention of fiscal stimulus yet which is what is needed but probably too late. As de-globalists sweep to power it will be they that initiate it, country by country.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. If Marine LePen has enough people voting for her to win the first round of the presidential campaign then I would say she represents the middle, rather than the far right.

    Far right, like populist, is another meaningless derogatory term used by the frightened elites to discredit their opponents. Don’t want your country to be flooded with useless immigrants? You aren’t reasonable and sensible, you’re far right and therefore must be condemned by all right thinking people.

    • Especially from the BBC, and the UK, Swedish and German MSM. Given what has been happening in France to be anti EU and anti-immigration is to be pro democracy. That is not a “far right” value.

      • Yeah, everybody’s a racist these days. The epithet has been flung around so much that it no longer has any meaning. If people accuse me of being a racist for wanting to reduce immigration to Australia then I’ll just shrug because they’re idiots and I don’t care.

        Racist racist racist boogedy boogedy boogedy. Zero Fucks Given.

        Edit…I understand you weren’t serious, so that reply is directed at the racism shouters, not you.

      • Had me laughing too Tony.

        Leaping straight to the default racism argument is the easy option. Actually considering whether this country has enough hospitals roads, houses and jobs is difficult.

        Im not aware of any academic, scientific or even statistical studies that suggest what rate of immigration the country’s water and infrastucture resources can cope with. Does anyone know of the sustainable suggested yearly % of immigration?

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      Agreed. I mean how is Hollande the sensible centre when he is polling at 11 to 12%. Insane.

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      Thanks, great article! I particularly thought this was an insightful comment:

      “This is what happens in politics; what starts as a feeling becomes a reality at the ballot box, not least because every election that goes against the elite gives “permission” for the next bunch of popular ‘Outsiders’ to scent victory.”

      I suspect that’s partly why we are getting the clumsy ‘comical Ali’ act from most of our ‘elites’ and of course the full assault across the spectrum of our mainstream media. The logic seems to be if they pretend it’s not happening then it won’t. Plus some barely concealed anger that some of the plebs are daring to ask questions and air their opinions.

      It’s clearly out of the box already and while I don’t know enough about the details of European politics to guess how things will go in Italy or France I suggest the UK and US example have plenty of relevance for the vibe in Australia.

  2. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    “He said the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election victory showed how important it was to listen to angry citizens, and that politicians scared of making decisions were opening the door to populists and demagogues.”

    Accurate diagnosis but somehow I have it in mind that what he means by ‘making decisions’ is doubling down on more of the same rather than stepping back and reassessing the whole direction of policy. Sort of like here in Australia where the growing revulsion with corrupted policy is put down to people needing it ‘explained’ better and more fluffy PR about the wonders of globalism.