“THE STAGE is set” for Italy to leave the EU, as Brussels’ failure to keep promises to the Italian people means they will quit the elitist trade bloc, according to former Tory leader William Hague.
The ex-foreign secretary was discussing the problems the new right-wing coalition in Italy will have with the EU as Brussels bureaucrats attempt to “prevent Italians from receiving the benefits for which they voted”.
Writing in a newspaper column, Lord Hague said: “The two parties that have just jointly nominated a prime minister – the Five Star Movement and The League – are an entirely new combination, vehemently opposed to most of the policies pursued in their own country and the rest of Europe for the past few decades.
“They have long been hostile to staying in the euro, have promised to expel hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, and have adopted an economic programme considered crazy by conventional economists.”
But, in the Telegraph article the former Foreign Secretary described how he is sceptical about whether the coalition will be able to keep their promises on policy when the EU get involved.
Mr Hague said: “One thing we can know for sure is that this is going to lead to a very big disappointment.
“Left to its own devices, the new Italian coalition would soon discover that no sensible person would lend it the money to do this and that the economy is too big for anyone to bail it out.”
The senior peer argued Itlay’s populist politicians will be prevented from making policy changes by the EU, bringing resentment towards the EU27 and meaning the coalition have to break promises.
In his Telegraph column he wrote: “Disappointment and anger can therefore be directed, not against a new ministry in Rome, but at Brussels and Berlin.
“It will be the EU that will be preventing Italians from receiving the benefits for which they voted.
“If the new political leaders want to trigger the bust-up that could lead to Italy leaving the euro, as so much earlier rhetoric from them has suggested they do, the stage will be perfectly set for it.”
The comments come as Italy is on the brink of appointing a little-known lawyer as the nation’s next prime minister.
Giuseppe Conte is seen as the compromise candidate between Five Star and Lega. He has no political background.
So far, the coalitiion has put forward a list of reforms including plans to deport 500,000 “illegal immigrants”.
A close pal of David Cameron, Lord Hague campaigned for Remain during 2016’s referendum.
But he thinks Brussels will inevitably wind up the Italians when they put blockers on their plans.
Lord Hague has been sceptical of the currency since the start, and referred to it as being “like a burning building with no exits” in the past.
Despite campaigning for Remain, Hague’s election manifesto as leader in 2001 advocated more flexibility from Brussels.