Brexit and Italy: What they have in common (Guest post)

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Brexit and Italy: What they have in common (Guest post)

By Giulio

As the Italian elections were approaching, different parties were getting ready to show their power on the streets of Milan and Rome. The majority of them were the nationalist and populist parties. The streets were flooded with people screaming and waving flags and signs, trying to flaunt their dominance.

The March elections have changed Italy from a country that could evolve to a country that could end up like Greece. It is a disaster which could ruin Italy. Since the day I looked at the news and saw how the centre-left Democratic Party had practically disappeared and the populist parties had the majority of the votes, I have been disappointed and angry.

Most of Italians voted for nationalist and populist parties hoping that they could be the solution to all their problems. People seem not to understand that these parties do not have real solutions to the economic crisis, unemployment or immigration. Lega (whose leader, Matteo Salvini, is pictured above with Nigel Farage) and the 5-Star Movement parties have used these issues to fuel hate, and exploited them to create consensus around them. Immigration has been used as the central issue in Italy; the government has closed ports with the intent of showing that it is capable of providing easy and immediate solutions to complex problems.

Immigration can’t be stopped by closing ports. Rather, it deserves more attention also in consideration of the fact that immigrants can help the Italian economy. But populist parties have the objective of destruction, because destruction fuels hatred among people in difficulties. They create the illusion that simplification can solve complex problems and they neglect the consequences of their actions.

This is the same idea that has fuelled the enthusiasm for destroying relations between the UK and the EU. The issues the UK is facing now in the negotiation with the EU are showing that people didn’t consider the real consequences of Brexit. By leaving the EU, the UK wanted to get back its freedom – but in the end it will be forced to set agreements to allow trade with EU countries. The economy will be negatively impacted and some constraints will remain.

In a way, British politicians who supported Brexit and Italian nationalists and populists have something in common: they do not have real solutions to the problems, and they don’t evaluate the consequences of their actions.

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