Italy referendum: instability looms

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Matteo Renzi:
Matteo Renzi:

The result of Italy’s referendum heralds a period of instability and is a setback for those who want to see reform in Europe, a senior MEP from Germany has said.

“Initially, a phase of instability now lies ahead of us — how will one of the biggest countries in the European Union now stabilise itself?” Manfred Weber, the head of the main conservative group in the European Parliament, told ZDF television.

“It is also a setback for those who want readiness for reform, those who want European countries to change,” he added. “That is the only way we can deal with globalisation.”

German’s foreign minister also expressed concern about the result, which prompted Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to resign.

Speaking during a visit to Greece, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that while the result of the Italian referendum on constitutional reform was “not the end of the world,” it was also “not a positive development in the case of the general crisis in Europe.”

Mr Steinmeier said Renzi’s government had been moving in the right direction, and he said Germany hoped the new Italian government would continue along the same path.

However, other commentators cast doubt on whether the referendum will have a knock-on effect in Europe.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, said the vote was an Italian domestic issue and he doesn’t see it as a defeat for Europe.

He told German news agency dpa: “Italy voted on a reform. It would be wrong to extrapolate that now to the European level. It was a domestic political argument.”

Germany’s finance minister called for a calm response to the outcome said there’s no basis to talk of it triggering a “euro crisis.”

Wolfgang Schaeuble said Italy needs a government that is capable of acting and he hopes it will continue pursuing reforms despite the referendum result.

Mr Schaeuble added: “I think we should take note of this with a degree of calm. The Italians have decided; we have to respect that. They will make the best of it.”

The minister added: “There is no reason to talk of a euro crisis and there is certainly no reason to conjure one up.”

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