by Freddie Sayers
Wednesday, 15
July 2020

Meet the leader of the new ‘Italexit’ Party

Freddie Sayers speaks to Italian senator Gianluigi Paragone
by Freddie Sayers

First there was talk of Grexit, then Brexit — will Italexit be next?

Gianluigi Paragone is a member of the Italian senate, previously with the Five Star movement but now sitting as an independent, who has a grand plan to launch a new party. Its mission is clear: to take Italy out of the European Union.

It’s early days and it hasn’t even launched yet — but we wanted to get ahead of the game and understand his rationale. Here are some key quotes:

On why the party was created:

  • “The Italian political scene lacks a party that explicitly proposes Italy’s exit from the EU and Eurozone… This gives Italians the first ever opportunity to express their view”.
  • “All these so-called eurosceptic parties in Italy believe that the EU can be reformed from within. I don’t believe that… We need a party that doesn’t lie to its citizens about this”.

On the EU and Eurozone:

  • “The Eurozone is constructed for the northern economies, which works well for them but not for us”
  • “The EU is not reformable and there is a high risk of the system collapsing due to its intrinsic instability… It is the biggest political fraud of the past few decades”.
  • “The EU was not built for citizens and on the interests of citizens – it was built on top of their heads and against their interests”
  • “It is built to favour the interests of big financial capital and multinationals, which is the opposite of what made Italy great”
  • “The EU effectively legalises tax evasion and tax havens in a completely legal manner…It a system that allows multinationals to exploit low labour costs and take the profits abroad, which damages Italy”

On immigration:

  • “When you compress fundamental economic and social rights for so long, it’s perfectly normal for people to vent against the system, which includes immigration”
  • “Immigration should be seen as part of the neoliberal story… There are states that have been flattened from above by financial capital and markets and from below from uncontrolled migration flows. This leads to the complete destabilisation of economies”
  • “We have a constitution that managed to weave together in a beautiful way three very different political traditions: socialism, liberalism and Catholicism…It is based on a perfect balance of rights and duties”

On whether he is a Leftist:

  • “It doesn’t make much sense to ask this question because the Left today has more than anyone else betrayed its ideals by embracing neoliberalism”
  • “I want to fully restore the rights of citizens — whether that is Left or Right, I will leave it to the people to decide”

On how the Party can succeed:

  • “Our biggest ally is the EU because it is showing its true nature… It’s inevitable that opposition to the system will grow”
  • “There’s no structure to leaving the EU and monetary union so we should see this as a medium term political struggle for freedom, autonomy and rights… The greatest lie that the EU continues to peddle is that there is no turning back, which Brexit proves”
  • “We do not have a majority but we have a big enough majority to get into Parliament, which polls show”
  • “In spite of the European straitjacket, Italy has one of the biggest manufacturing sectors in Europe and I have no doubt that it can stand up to any kind of financial threat”

On Brexit:

  • “Comparing Italexit to Brexit is an intellectual exercise — you can’t take Brexit and imagine how it plays out in Italy because it is different in so many respects”
  • “Northern countries consider the southern countries PIIGS – we are never going to see a political union emerge in this cultural context.”

Join the discussion

  • I have just watched the interview. Mr Paragone has obviously reached the right conclusions as to the true nature and structure of the EU, and he seems to have a realistic view of the situation as a whole. As he says, Italy is very different to the UK, and any ‘Italexit’ will be founded on different arguments. I think Freddy was a bit silly to ask Mr Paragone is he was of the right or the left. As Mr Paragone says, this and many other issues are no longer about right or left.

    I am not entirely sure that Mr Paragone is correct in his assessment of Italy’s economic prospects should they leave. I have visited Italy a few times in recent years and there is no lack of enterprise or work ethic as far as I can tell. Indeed, some young people who were renting a farm were among the most inspiring people I have ever encountered. (We helped them with the olive harvest), However, I recently read a very detailed post-war history of Italy’s politics and economy, and the picture before Italy adopted the euro was not quite as rosy as Mr Paragone suggests. We all know about the endemic corruption and the huge gap prosperity between north and south, to cite just two problems.

    Anyway, one can only wish him well. At least 60% of Italians now have a negative view of the EU, which is a much higher figure that you would have got had you polled the British just 10 or 12 years ago. So anything is possible.

  • This is interesting and it will be fascinating to follow. I was Brexit voter and I am a fervant democrat. I have seen the desolatation of EU money wasted on the south Italian coast. I lived in Ireland and have seen friends comit suicide post banking crash. The EU is an dangerous entity.

  • Finland and Iceland also were subjected to the EU’s Project Fear. The best defence is to point to the last three exercises in Project Fear and highlight how none of it has come true. They will recruit 5th columnists, like they did in the UK, such as Gina Miller, Heseltine and Ken Clark, and EU stooges such as Tony Blair, Theresa May and John Major, to set about trying to wreck Italexit by political chicanery and bogus legal challenges. But it can all be beaten by men of stout heart and patriotic intent. Go forth Italy, and come on into the sunshine of freedom.

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