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Mar 13, 2013 18:20 Moscow Time

Италия комик Беппе Грилло Сильвио Берлускони

Photo: EPA

Beppe Grillo, the leader of the “Five Star Movement” which won 25% of the votes cast in the last parliamentary elections was interviewed by the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt. The former comic turned politician told the German journalists that Italy is in fact out of the Eurozone and called for a popular referendum for returning to the Italian lira.

Beppe Grillo is certain the European Union will kick Italy out of the Eurozone as soon as the ECB’s investments in the Italian state bonds are recouped. Based on this assumption, the leader of the “Five Star Movement” suggests that a return to the Italian lira is necessary and should be decided by the popular vote. In his view, exiting the Eurozone is preferable to the current situation, because it’s not fair for the banks to be saved, while ordinary people are bearing the brunt of budgetary austerity. Beppe Grillo has accused the Prime Minister Mario Monti (who is also a former employee of Goldman Sachs) of being not a prime minister but a “bankruptcy trustee on behalf of the banks”. Monti “has helped the top earners and has cut the state system”, said the leader of the “Five Start Movement”.

Although the mainstream press has a tendency of criticizing Grillo and his party, it should be noted that his economic solutions are not without merit and his arguments against the policy of Mario Monti seem to be valid. The former comic has a good grasp of the most poignant problems of the European Union and while his views may seem unorthodox, they reflect the opinion of a quarter of the Italian electorate. Of course, such statements as “We must still ask: What happened to Europe? Why has only Germany been enriched?” will not help him gain any popularity with the German public, but it seems that Grillo doesn’t care about being diplomatic. At the same time, all statements made by the leader of the “Five Star Movement” must be taken with a grain of salt. Beppe Grillo is still running an election campaign. Therefore, while interpreting Grillo’s interview for the Handelsblatt it should be taken into account that he was not addressing the German journalists or the European politician, but he was trying to impress his Italian voters.


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