Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

Brussels’ plot to ‘disempower nation states’ exposed as bloc on brink of dissolution

Denmark 'most likely to leave EU next' says Nigel Farage

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Brussels acknowledged its weaknesses earlier this year over its patchy rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Different member states have adopted varying approaches in vaccinating their respective populations. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has admitted the issues with jabs go right to the heart of the EU. Brussels chaotic’ approach to the rollout of jabs has contrasted sharply with that of the UK.

The UK’s successes post-Brexit have raised questions over whether other EU member states could follow its lead and leave the bloc.

Among those on the Continent agitating to cut ties with Brussels is Italian politician Gianluigi Paragone.

In July last year the ex-Five Star senator set up his own anti-EU party, Italexit, after taking inspiration from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

For former journalist Mr Paragone, the EU’s issues are much more deep-seated than its problems in the pandemic might suggest.

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The politician aired his views in a recently resurfaced interview from last year with Australia’s Financial Review.

He said: “This was the long-run plan of the European Union all along: disempower nation states, disempower national governments, and disempower national constitutions.

“The latest recovery plan is just one further step in that direction.”

Mr Paragone launched his party in the middle of the pandemic last year following a meeting with Mr Farage in London.

At the time he said: “We can no longer be blackmailed by countries that offend the great prestige of Italy.”

He also said that only a “really sovereign state” like the UK can tackle the economic meltdown sparked by the spread of COVID-19.

However, his plan is not to push for a referendum like the UK’s vote in 2016, in which a majority of the public backed leaving the EU.

Instead, Mr Paragone has said he would prefer to contest the next Italian general election, which is set to take place by May 2023.

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In his interview with Financial Review, the politician also hit out at Germany and the sway it holds among EU chiefs.

He said: “We have an incredibly beautiful country, we have great food, great wine, great places, great industries that are successful all around the world.

“What the EU, and to some extent Germany, have tried to do with their policies of austerity and de-industrialisation is to try to break that.

“Italy has a different model, it’s a model that is based on quality, on beauty – it’s not compatible with financial accounting that only takes into account financial balances.”

This year the EU has been thrown into disarray by a sluggish vaccination campaign, which initially lagged far behind those of countries outside the bloc, such as the UK and Israel.

Some vaccine manufacturers including Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech cancelled deliveries to the EU amid production issues at plants in Europe.

The head of the EU’s executive, Ms von der Leyen, apologised for the bloc’s shortfalls in February.

She told the European Parliament: “We were late to authorise. We were too optimistic when it came to massive production.”

She added that the EU was “perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time.”
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