Italian election 2018 winner Matteo Salvini revealed economic experts close to his Lega party are working to create a “Plan B” to get Italy out of the eurozone if the country’s demands for reform are not met.
The eurosceptic politician has long criticised Italy’s adoption of the euro, calling it a “wrong currency and a wrong choice” and claiming it has had a damaging impact on the already precarious Italian economy.
Mr Salvini said: “Our experts, who have also been elected to the Italian Parliament, are working on a ‘Plan B’ should Brussels say no to our requests.
“We plan to sit down politely and responsibly to a table asking to change some of the rules regulating our membership of the European Union which are heavily damaging the lives of Italians.”
The Lega Nord leader added his party is considering reforming Italy’s Constitution in order legalise a referendum on the euro – and possibly membership of the European Union.
Article 75 of the Italian Constitution currently bars Italians from voting on international treaties, including the ones legislating relations between Brussels and Rome.
Speaking to the press in Brussels, Mr Salvini continued: “Unfortunately, contrary to other countries and populations, the Italian Constitution prevents Italian from voting on international treaties.
“Reforming the Constitution is part of the plans for the next five years of government. However it won’t be an immediate step as it can’t be done.”
The success of Lega at the polls – where it won 37 percent of the vote as part of a centre-right coalition – falls in line with surveys showing an increased shift in the views of Italians towards the EU and its institutions.
The Eurobarometer poll conducted by the EU itself at the end of last year highlighted a dramatic shift in the views of Italians.
Under 60 percent supported the retention of the status quo, making Italy one of the most Eurosceptic countries in the trade bloc.
Mr Salvini added: “Over the past few years European policies have stolen the right to a future and to hope.
“We want to negotiate with the European Union about the rights that have been denied to Europeans and to citizens who, with their vote, are now claiming them back.”
A recent study revealed 51 percent of Italians would be in favour of leaving the EU – with young citizens holding the worst opinion about the impact of the EU on their country.