The anti-EU sentiment in Italy mounted over the weekend after the interview of European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen with German news agency DPA. The Commission president dismissed the idea of coronabond as “just a popular word right now,” adding that concerns from Northern countries are justified.
Economy minister Roberto Gualtieri immediately condemned the “wrong words” of von der Leyen, who later clarified that the Commission is not excluding any option within the limits of the Treaty.
In Italy, the attitude to the Northern “hawks” turned sour following the unsuccessful EU summit on Thursday (26 March). Former PM and Commission President Romano Prodi bashed the Dutch in a TV interview on Sunday (29 March): “If a big crisis happens, who do they sell their tulips to?” he wondered.
Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella called on the European Council to make “crucial and positive financial decisions” by overcoming “old systems out of touch with reality.”
The leader of the right-wing party Lega, Matteo Salvini, called the EU as a nest of snakes and jackals. “First, we defeat the virus, then we think of Europe. And if we have to, we say goodbye”, he said.