EU warning: Bloc’s future ‘NOT looking good’ after leaders lock horns over rescue package

Italy is locked in a feud with the Netherlands over what conditions should be attached to eurozone credit for governments fighting the pandemic, officials said on Wednesday. The Italians are calling for more economic support including some form of debt mutualisation. Analysts have warned of rising anti-EU sentiment in Italy and also in Spain as voters felt abandoned by Brussels.

But while the bloc is set to continue on its path following Brexit, experts have said Italy’s departure would shake it to its core. 

Express.co.uk conducted an exclusive survey to find out how readers predicted the crisis would affect the bloc’s existence.

When asked “Could the pandemic spell the end for the EU?” 69 percent (5,006 readers) said it could.

Just five percent (387) said the COVID-19 outbreak which has killed thousands across the continent would unlikely result in the downfall of the EU.

More than a quarter (26 percent; 1,933) were unsure about how the crisis would impact the bloc’s future.

The poll ran from 11.45am to 7.45pm on Wednesday, April 8, with a total of 7,326 people taking part.

One person wrote: “The sooner the better and they better not keep part of our assets that are owed to us.”

Another reader said wealthier nations’ reluctance to come to the aid of southern states proves the future of the bloc “is not looking good”.

They said: “The Germans would be mad to bail out Spain and Italy.”

And a third person said the crisis would not in fact spell the end because it was already coming about after Brexit.

“When we left the club it was over,” they said.

And yet another said Angela Merkel could not be relied on to deal with European interests while she tries to get to grips with the virus crisis in Germany.

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The commentator said: “The Germans help no one but themselves.

“Once all the other countries wake up and smell the coffee then yes it will spell the end of the EU.

“Thank you so much to my fellow citizens who voted Leave.”

Another reader said it would be “delusional” to think EU leaders will agree on a financial rescue plan, adding: “Germany has already shown who matters most!”

The results come as the Dutch parliament on Wednesday passed a motion urging the government not to agree to any EU proposal that would make the Netherlands responsible for the national debt of another country.

The move was a clear sign of support for the government’s tough stance on so-called coronabands.

The motion, tabled by the populist anti-EU Forum for Democracy party is not binding but will make it politically difficult for the Netherlands to support Italy’s requests for eurobonds.

Following overnight talks that ran into the early hours of Wednesday, EU finance ministers failed to agree on measures to support badly hit countries.

Discussions stumbled on topics including how to finance a recovery fund because that involved the joint bond issue – a red line for the Netherlands.

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