EU is not there: Italians’ opinion during Coronavirus

Leonardo Saulle - April 16, 2020
coronavirus desk research EU politica politics sentiment analysis

EU is not there: Italians’ opinion during Coronavirus

Europa e Coronavirus - PXR Italy

More than 8 out of 10 Italians claim that Europe does not sufficiently support Italy in this period of health crisis: these are the main results of the research conducted by the research institute PXR Italy on a sample of over 1700 people. To the question "Do you think that the EU is sufficiently supporting Italy in facing the Coronavirus emergency?" 85% of respondents said that no, Europe is not.

When the opinion of more than 30 million Italians (out of a total of 37 million) is so polarised, one has to ask oneself a couple of questions. Especially if we consider that before the advent of the Coronavirus 42% of Italians wanted to leave Europe, against 44% who wanted to stay (the remaining 14% are impartial): of the former, 12% would have changed their minds if and only if the EU had done something concrete to help Italy in this emergency (TECNÈ data). But as already pointed out, Italians do not perceive the EU's presence in a satisfactory way. But before drawing conclusions, let's really ask ourselves a couple of questions. Let's start with the most obvious question: why does the European Union exist and what is its stated objective?

Why does the European Union exist and what is its stated objective?

The EU was officially born with the 1957 Treaty of Rome 'signed' by six founding states (including Italy): purely financial in nature, the treaty laid the foundations for the establishment of a common market and policies aimed at cooperation between member countries. The following years saw drastic changes from a social and political point of view, leading to the annexation of 21 additional states, for a total of 27 at the beginning of 2020. The history of the EU is one of broken barriers, connection and collaboration, but also of conflict, political interests and missed opportunities. A story, like all others, made by groups of people, but mostly (and too often unfortunately) by individuals.

But let's get to the point. The stated objectives of the European Union are:

  • Promote peace, its values and the well-being of its citizens;
  • Offer freedom, security and justice without internal borders;
  • Promote sustainable development based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive market economy with full employment and social progress, and protection of the environment;
  • Combating social exclusion and discrimination;
  • Promoting scientific and technological progress;
  • Strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity between Member States to respect the richness of its cultural and linguistic diversity;
  • Establish an Economic and Monetary Union with the euro as its single currency.

Having said that, a second, less obvious question might be: what does Europe actually do for Italy?

Più di 8 italiani su 10 sostengono che l’Europa non supporti sufficientemente l’Italia: a partire da dati come questi possiamo porci delle domande, cercare delle risposte e solo alla fine cambiare la situazione che non ci soddisfa. Per concludere con le parole di Mahatma Gandhi: “Sii il cambiamento che vuoi vedere nel mondo”.


And here we come to the point. Because in fact it is not possible to give an answer in one sentence or in a 400-word newspaper article. It is precisely here that one needs the patience to inform oneself, to study and delve deeper; to understand that the EU is not the easy answer to a complex question: especially if the 'question' is the Coronavirus.

But it is well known, many Italians like simple but flashy solutions: the recent appeal of the Prime Minister to Giorgia Meloni and Matteo Salvini showed once again the weakness of the people of the bel paese to fake news and scandals. In 2019, 82% of Italians did not know how to recognise a fake new, while in 2018 it was estimated that 23% of facebook users living on the peninsula had shared at least one fake news story in the previous year (data INFOSFERA - Università degli studi Suor Orsola Benincasa).

In the information age we are responsible for the information we share. We have a great opportunity for knowledge and consequently great horizons for action: the EU is our playing field. In summary, more than 8 out of 10 Italians claim that Europe does not sufficiently support Italy in this difficult time given by the Coronavirus: starting from data like these we can ask ourselves questions, look for answers and only in the end change the situation that does not satisfy us. To conclude with the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see in the world".

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