Italexit: Campaign to rip Italy from EU kick-started with unexpected petition

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Mayor Federico Sboarina has relaunched Italy’s EU exit campaign, which was originally devised by art critic and lower house deputy Vittorio Sgarbi. Mr Sboarina, who has been mayor of the city since June 2017, was “winking” at Boris Johnson after the successful Brexit campaign, reports La Repubblica, the Italian daily newspaper.

A link to the anti-EU petition has appeared on the municipality of Verona’s website.

Verona citizens have been urged to read the document “Draft popular initiative law: Call for a referendum on the withdrawal of the state from the European Union”.

They are also invited to support the drive by signing a petition before the December 10 deadline, which demands a referendum on quitting the bloc.

Not all in the city, however, are on board.

A statement posted on the website read: “Other municipalities, from Milan to Bologna to Reggio Emilia, have democratically made available the certification service of the signatures, but nobody did it with adhesion.

“It is therefore a serious mistake.

“Sboarina will have to explain to citizens why he doesn’t want the tens of millions of euros that will come from Europe through the Recovery Fund.”

Opponents say the “ultra-right” are fueling the desire to leave the EU.

Federico Frini, Elisa La Paglia, Stefano Vallani, city councillors of the Democratic Party in Verona, condemned the initiative.

They laid the blame for the campaign solely on the shoulders of Mr Sgarbi.

They said: “Subscribers to the proposed popular initiative law were 14 Roman professionals, but at the head of the movement, Vittorio Sgarbi.

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“The initiative is supported by the radical and sovereign ultra-right and the Stop Euro Movement.”

Mr Sgarbi was last month carried out of the Italian parliament after shouting abuse at fellow politicians.

The hot-headed lawmaker was pictured being carried out by his arms and legs.

He has enjoyed a long-standing political career, mainly in former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.

Mr Sgarbi is known for his foul-mouthed outbursts on TV talk shows.

He has on many occasions been convicted of slander.

In June he blasted the country’s judges, drawing comparisons between some of the judiciary and mobsters.

His vision for Verona to no longer be under the auspices of the EU comes after polls showed a drop in support for the EU among Italian voters.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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