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As we are about to enter a new decade, the EU seems to be facing one of its worst existential crises since its inception. Euroscepticism is nothing new. Ever since the efforts to achieve European integration started in the Fifties, political parties that made anti-integration their main platform started to mushroom throughout the continent.
The current pandemic, lockdown measures and the economic crisis looming seem to be exacerbating divisive trends in Europe.
For example, a recent poll shows that 67 percent of Italians believe that being a member of the bloc is a disadvantage for Italy.
However, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Italian MEP Marco Campomenosi claimed this is only the beginning.
He said: “It is not easy to predict who else is going to join Britain out of the EU.
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“Some say it will be the Netherlands – but they almost act like a tax haven within the bloc, so they will probably think twice before leaving.
“What I think it’s going to happen is that if the EU does not start responding to the needs of its citizens, it will not be able to survive.”
Mr Campomenosi argued that differences in terms of competitiveness will just increase after Covid-19.
He added: “Just look at the power Germany has got when it comes to state aid for instance.
“Berlin has got more than half of all the other member states.
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“After coronavirus, we will face even bigger seismic shocks, which will derive from the inability of non-German companies to compete in a strongly German-orientated market.”
According to Ukip founder Alan Sked, the single market could become even more Berlin-orientated as German Chancellor Angela Merkel might be plotting something quite radical for the future of the bloc.
The emeritus Professor of International History at the London School of Economics (LSE) said: “Emmanuel Macron has been a great advocate for a federal Europe.
“He has made great speeches, calling for Europe to be united and having a fiscal union, a monetary union, which includes a bank, one treasury, one finance minister and some sort of financial parliament.
“Merkel and the Germans don’t actually believe in that but Merkel is about to retire and the rumour is that she wants to have some kind of historical legacy because so far there is not very much she can claim as hers.”
Prof Sked added: “There is this persistent rumour that she would like to go down with some positive legacy and that she will do something about the fiscal union.
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“I am not sure the Bundestag will accept it, though.”
In October, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the EU was already taking a step towards a fiscal union with its plans to recover from the coronavirus pandemic – which involve the European Commission borrowing in financial markets.
Mr Scholz told an interparliamentary conference on stability, economic coordination and governance in Brussels: “We are moving towards fiscal union, a major step forward in the financial capacity and sovereignty of the EU.”
To support the bloc’s economy, the EU has announced a €750billion (£678billion) recovery fund.
He added: “Markets have confidence in European policies and in the development of European economies.
“We should carry on with this course.”
Mrs Merkel will not run for her fifth term as Chancellor and is therefore expected to step down in 2021.
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