If the EU punishes Italy, it will reap the whirlwind

European leaders must resist the temptation to make Italians pay for the sins of their government. It is smarter to offer help
8 juin 2018

Commentary by Francois Crépeau : « As we shall soon celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the end of WWI, we must remember the lessons of the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles, when unrealistic reparation obligations were heaped upon the German population. Punishing whole peoples for the sins of their leaders pushes them more into the hands of populists with “magical” solutions. This is precisely why the victors of WWII proposed the Marshall Plan in order to rebuild Europe, including their vanquished foes. As proposed by George Soros, a Marshall Plan for Africa would, over the long term, create markets and allies for Europe. It needs to include a long term vision and strategy for facilitating and governing mobility between the continents. Dropping the Dublin mentality – which punishes border countries such as Italy and Greece, as well as transit countries and refugees themselves, on top of costing billions – should be one of the first steps of this plan. »

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By George Soros

After the crisis of the past three months, Italy now has a government based on an uneasy coalition between the Five Star Movement and the League. The two parties will have difficulty agreeing a budget, but the budget they eventually propose is likely to exceed limits imposed on Italy as a member of the eurozone. This would result in a renewed political crisis. The government may well fall, so we could be facing elections later this year or, more likely, early next year.

The outcome of the next Italian elections will greatly depend on how the EU responds to the turmoil in that country. There is a strong inclination in Europe to use the occasion to teach Italy a lesson. If the EU follows this line, it will dig its own grave by provoking a negative response from the Italian electorate, which would then re-elect the Five Star Movement and the League with an increased majority.

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