Following Brexit and US President-Elect Trump’s victory against Hillary Clinton, shifts toward far-right populism and nationalism are becoming more of a reality in many Western countries. Is Italy next in line to follow this trend? 

On December 4th, Italy will vote in a referendum for a constitutional reform that would increase the power of the lower house, effectively creating a more centralized government. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is likely to resign from his post if the vote fails, making way for the populist, anti-establishment 5 Star Movement, led by popular political blogger and comedian Beppe Grillo. We used survey responses exploring common themes of the 5 Star Movement (anti-immigration, euroscepticism and economic protectionism) to understand attitudes that might impact the referendum outcome in Italy. 

Compared to Europeans as a whole, more Italians have a negative view of the EU: 35% of Europeans have a negative opinion of the European Union compared to 50% in Italy. When asked ‘What should be the focus of the EU?’, Italians agree with Europeans that ‘increasing border security to restrict immigration from outside the EU’ is a major priority (42% for Italy and EU-28). Italians also value focusing on ‘investing in a European intelligence service’ (52% compared to an EU average of 37%). Increased intelligence within the EU is often promoted by protectionists as a strategic effort to combat terrorism within the EU.

 

 

 

This is part of an on-going series measuring populist sentiment in Europe. To receive updates, sign up for our newsletter here.