Forget Brexit — Italy is poised to tear Europe apart

Great Britain was always a convenient scapegoat for the EU woes to take attention off domestic problems for member states, such as Italy. Matter of fact, Great Britain was the most sound of the lot and had dodged a bullet. Moreover, Italy has been in a near-collapse state for years


Italy is on the cusp of tearing Europe apart but the economic and political crisis brewing in the nation is largely going unnoticed.

All eyes have turned to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as having the most drastic political and economic impact onto the 28-nation state but if you look at the country’s economic data, bank issues, and the impending constitutional referendum coming up, Italy is like a bomb waiting to explode.

The Italian financial system, which to put it gently, is in a major state of flux right now. While Britain’s EU referendum in June was seismic in terms of having economic and political repercussions across the bloc, there is another referendum of equal importance, coming up in Italy in October, and the result could fundamentally alter the state of the already delicate Italian economy.

If denied, Renzi’s government will most likely fall, plunging Italy back into the type of political chaos last seen after the ousting of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, according to Deutsche Bank. That, Citi says, makes the referendum “probably the single biggest risk on the European political landscape this year among non-UK issues.”

“If the referendum is rejected, we would expect the fall of Renzi’s government. Forming a stable government majority either before or after a new election could become extremely challenging even by Italian standards,” Deutsche Bank analysts led by Marco Stringa said in a note to clients in May. Fears that the reforms will be rejected have intensified since the eurosceptic vote won in Britain.

A political mess can quickly turn into a cornucopia of financial and economic disarray. According to estimates from business lobby Confindustria, if Renzi’s reforms do not pass, it would push Italy into recession, lead to massive capital flight, and widen spreads on Italian debt.

Italy simply cannot afford any of those things at the moment.

Not only is the country in a state of economic and political turmoil — it has crushingly low productivity, a history of missing growth targets, and has generally underperformed the rest of Europe in recent years — but the country’s banking system is also in the midst of serious, serious problems.

Full article: Forget Brexit — Italy is poised to tear Europe apart (The Independent)

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