Economy / Foreign relations / History of Italy

Can the Italians like a ruthless Europe?

The Italian reactions to the last-minute Greek deal were fairly predictable. The Government is relieved, the commentators are worried for the future of European integration, the opposition is clamoring against Brussels, Berlin and Athens itself for signing the agreement.

The mood of the public is more difficult to detect. If, as it look likely for now, the Greek hard times will not reach Italy, people will not get too angry at Brussels and will put at least part of the blame on the Greeks. On the contrary, if also Italy will we asked to offer what it calls “tears and blood”, a certain amount of solidarity between Mediterranean people will be unavoidable.

However, in the long run it is difficult to imagine that an undisciplined people like the Italian one can be in tune with European Institutions more are more Nordic, law-abiding and efficiency-obsessed.

The process is indeed already visible. The Italians, who used to be very pro-EU, have grown increasingly skeptical of it, with at least two major political parties showing open hostility to Brussels. It is reminiscent of the years of Italian Unification in the XIX century when the new national Government, initially greeted with joy and enthusiasm, proved itself all too willing to enforce the tax and draft laws, triggering a backlash of resistance which often spiraled into armed rebellion.

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