Italy’s referendum result marks ‘phase of instability,’ senior German MEP warns


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.”

The euro tanked to a 20-month low against the dollar overnight as shares across Europe opened lower after Mr Renzi conceded defeat in a referendum over his plan to reform the constitution and said he would resign.

At one stage the euro hit $1.0505, its lowest level against the US currency since March 2015.

However, the picture changed dramatically with the single currency climbing to $1.075 – its highest level for two weeks.

Despite concern about the result, 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.”

By Samuel Osborne, Zlata Rodionova @SamuelOsborne93




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