Five Star Movement Founder Grillo Makes Fresh Push for Euro Referendum

Five Star Movement founder and comedian Beppe Grillo has backed a referendum on the euro currency in Italy, saying that Italians need a “Plan B” if the economy deteriorates.

The founder and former leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), which governs Italy with populist coalition partner the League (La Lega), said Italians need to be given a choice on whether or not to remain in the euro currency, “spooking” investors according to Bloomberg.

Grillo made his comments in an interview with political scientist and author Ian Bremmer, saying, “Let the Italian people decide whether to stay in the euro, not in Europe but in the euro — a consultative referendum so that we can have a conversation for a year about a Plan B.”

The call comes after Italian President Sergio Mattarella had rejected the anti-establishment coalition’s first choice for finance minister, Paolo Savona, a well-known eurosceptic, for advocating a similar position.

“We don’t have a Plan B in case something goes wrong,” Grillo explained, adding: “You need to have a Plan B on the currency. I’m sure Germany and France have a Plan B. I didn’t say leave the euro. I said to let the Italian people decide with a referendum.”

The interview comes only weeks after Grillo praised the leader of M5S’s coalition partners La Lega, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, saying that he admired the populist leader as someone who “does things for real” following his move to close Italian ports to NGO migrant ferries operating off the coast of Libya.

Grillo’s support for potentially having Italy exit the currency is likely also backed by Salvini who, earlier this year, made it clear he supported leaving the euro, saying: “I remain convinced … that the euro under these conditions was an error, which we will remedy.”