After yesterday’s Presidential election in Austria did not produce the result many of them had wanted, the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate briefly threw a mardy strop at finding someone had pissed all over their Monday morning fireworks, before switching their attention to a referendum being held in Italy, called by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, which was over proposed changes to the country’s constitution.
Here, they clearly believe that they are on more solid ground, as Renzi lost the referendum and there was an overnight fall in markets and the Euro. Italian bank stocks fell. Would we see another member state preparing to leave the EU? Would Italy be ejected from the Eurozone? Was this the beginning of the disintegration of the European project? Sadly for them, the answer to all these highly speculative questions is a resounding no.
While the BBC has told “Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's heavy referendum defeat on Sunday has left the country facing political and economic uncertainty … Italy's president, who he will see later on Monday, will decide whether to appoint a new PM or hold elections”, the article then goes on to concede “The president may ask him to stay on at least until parliament has passed a budget bill due later this month”.
And there’s more: “In spite of the pressure from the opposition, early elections are thought to be unlikely … Instead, the president may appoint a caretaker administration led by Mr Renzi's Democratic Party, which would carry on until an election due in the spring of 2018 … Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan is the favourite to succeed Mr Renzi as prime minister … there is no question of Italy following the UK out of the door”.
That did not stop the Murdoch doggies at the Sun frothing “THE European Union suffered another blow today after Italy’s pro-EU prime minister resigned following a heavy referendum defeat … Anti-establishment populist movements are gaining ground in Europe and throughout the world - and the very future of Brussels could now be at stake”. Baloney. Both main Italian opposition groups want to remain in the EU.
This excursion into Fairy Dairy Land was joined by the Dacre doggies at the Mail, who ranted “Now for Italexit? Europe is hit by new anti-establishment revolt as Italian PM RESIGNS after losing a referendum that could now gift power to populists wanting to taking the country out of the euro … Result follows Brexit and Trump in citizens shunning political status quo”. I wouldn’t be too sure about that.
Take, for instance, Luigi Scazzieri’s article for the Guardian in which he puts it plainly: “Italy’s referendum result is not another Brexit or Trump … Matteo Renzi may be resigning as prime minister but the vote is unlikely to be the domino that leads to more instability in Europe”. Opposition included “mainstream political figures”. Further, “Italy’s vote is also different because the consequences of the vote are likely to be much more limited”.
As to the idea of a banking crisis, “the European Central Bank has already stated it will step in to ensure yields on Italian bonds do not rise too far … the consequences for the banking sector are also likely to be contained”.
In other words, the UK Press has been over-egging this particular pudding. They so want there to be a crisis somewhere in the EU. But this morning in Italy is not it.