Fifth of Italians want the lira back

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The lira was phased out after Italy adopted the euro in 1999. Photo: Homini/Flickr
12:37 CET+01:00
A fifth of Italians want to scrap the euro currency and return to the days of the lira, a new poll has found.

Twenty percent want to bring back the lira, while 64 percent think Italy should stick with the euro, the Piepoli Institute said this week.

Italy was one of the first EU countries to adopt the currency in 1999, operating a three-year dual currency system as the lira was phased out. A year after the euro became the country’s sole currency, 57 percent of Italians said in an EU survey that they thought the new currency was advantageous.

Now stuck in recession, Italy is challenged with keeping its public deficit below the EU’s 3.0 percent threshold. As a result, austerity measures have been imposed to rein in the country’s economy, the eurozone’s third largest, leading to a rise in euroscepticism.

In February’s national elections, both Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and anti-establishment Beppe Grillo campaigned successfully on an anti-EU platform. But despite each clinching around a quarter of the vote, neither won the elections outright and pro-EU Enrico Letta was sworn in as prime minister.

Speaking in July, Letta said eurozone reform was needed to create “a more integrated euro area” in the interests of Italy.

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In July 2014 Italy will take over the EU presidency for six months. 

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