- 'No chance of Italexit': Italy is not leaving the EU or the euro, PM insists
- ‘We're scared of immigration, not Europe,' say Italian voters
Gianluigi Paragone, a former TV journalist, presented his “Italexit” party on Thursday, two days after a London meeting with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who was instrumental in Britain's vote to quit the EU.
Paragone pointed to a survey by the Piepoli Institute from the end of June, which found that around seven percent of Italians would be likely too vote for a party campaigning to leave the EU.
“Consensus will only grow further, in line with the lies Europe tells us,” he said.
Political analyst and poll expert Renato Mannheimer said Italians' feelings on the EU had “swung widely over the past few months… though we remain the country that trusts Brussels the least”.
Many Italian political commentators questioned the timing of the announcement; two days after Italy secured a whopping 209 billon euros in emergency funding from the bloc, or 28 percent of the total rescue fund, intended to help EU states recover from the coronavirus crisis.
There was a perceived initial failure on the bloc's part to respond quickly enough to the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, but since then, support for the EU has risen again, Mannheimer said.
The large slice of the 750-billion euro recovery package earmarked for Italy would boost support further, he said.
“Most Italians don't want to leave the EU.Only around 30 percent – rising to 40 percent in some moments – say yes to leaving,” Mannheimer told AFP.
That figure rises slightly for Italians in favour of quitting the eurozone.
“I don't believe Paragone's party can build a large enough following for Italexit,” he said.
Paragone, who has previous ties to far-right populist leader Matteo Salvini's League party, was elected with the Five Star Movement (M5S)
He left soon after M5S formed the current Italian government with the pro-European Democratic Party (PD) last year.
Both M5S and the League, which are viewed as populist parties, have toned down their past anti-eurozone stance to appeal to more moderate voters