Most Italians want to remain part of the European Union, poll finds

The majority of Italians would like to keep their EU membership, but half are also yearning for a "strongman" leader, according to the latest national Censis poll

Most Italians want to remain part of the European Union, poll finds
A European Union flag hangs in an Italian street. Photo: DepositPhotos

Italians are not in favour of following in Britain's footsteps, with 62 percent saying leaving the European Union would not be a good idea, according to a report released on Friday by Italian research institute Censis.

The 2019 edition of the annual poll found 25 percent of Italians would be in favour of their country leaving the EU bloc.

Italy's membership of the EU is not currently a major topic of discussion within the country, and an “Italexit” referendum is not on the cards despite what is implied by reports in some UK newspapers.

In recent years the issue of Italy's European Union membership was regularly brought up by eurosceptic populist parties, including the Five Star Movement and the League.

However, polls have repeatedly found little appetite among Italians for a referendum on the issue, and the topic doesn't currently get much attention in Italian media or public life.

READ ALSO: No-deal Brexit 'would mean 139,000 job losses in Italy': report

And,all but the most ardently Eurosceptic Italian politicians now seem to have either changed their minds or gone quiet on the issue.

The M5S began backing the country's membership of the EU in 2017, changing tack after years of anti-European rhetoric, and then in 2018 decided they were also in favour of the single currency after all, despite previously blaming it for the country's economic woes.

Membership of the Euro is a more frequently-discussed issue in Italy, but again there is little interest in getting rid of the single currency.

The Censis poll found that 24 percent of Italians think reverting back to the Lira is a good idea. However the majority, 61 percent, said they were against that idea.

READ ALSO: Why is Italy talking about introducing another currency?

Almost half, 48 percent, are against bringing back customs checks within the EU, as they believe it would hamper the free movement of people and goods, while 32 percent would like the border controls back.

Worryingly, the report also said that widespread anxiety among Italians has led to “increasing antidemocratic impulses.”

Italians, struggling to deal with political turmoil and fears about the future amid a sluggish economy, are reportedly yearning for a “strongman who solves everything” to rule over them.
The report said 48 percent of people in Italy are in favour of having a “strongman in power” who doesn't need to worry about things like parliament and elections.

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Protesters gather in Milan as Italy limits same-sex parents’ rights

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Milan on Saturday in protest against a new government directive stopping local authorities from registering the births of same-sex couples' children.

Protesters gather in Milan as Italy limits same-sex parents' rights

“You explain to my son that I’m not his mother,” read one sign held up amid a sea of rainbow flags that filled the northern city’s central Scala Square.

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016, but opposition from the Catholic Church meant it stopped short of granting gay couples the right to adopt.

Decisions have instead been made on a case-by-case basis by the courts as parents take legal action, although some local authorities decided to act unilaterally.

Milan’s city hall had been recognising children of same-sex couples conceived overseas through surrogacy, which is illegal in Italy, or medically assisted reproduction, which is only available for heterosexual couples.

But its centre-left mayor Beppe Sala revealed earlier this week that this had stopped after the interior ministry sent a letter insisting that the courts must decide.

READ ALSO: Milan stops recognising children born to same-sex couples

“It is an obvious step backwards from a political and social point of view, and I put myself in the shoes of those parents who thought they could count on this possibility in Milan,” he said in a podcast, vowing to fight the change.

Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala

Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala has assured residents that he will fight to have the new government directive overturned. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Fabrizio Marrazzo of the Gay Party said about 20 children are waiting to be registered in Milan, condemning the change as “unjust and discriminatory”.

A mother or father who is not legally recognised as their child’s parent can face huge bureaucratic problems, with the risk of losing the child if the registered parent dies or the couple’s relationship breaks down.

Elly Schlein, newly elected leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, was among opposition politicians who attended the protest on Saturday, where many campaigners railed against the new government.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party came top in the September elections, puts a strong emphasis on traditional family values.

“Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby!” she said in a speech last year before her election at the head of a right-wing coalition that includes Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League.

Earlier this week, a Senate committee voted against an EU plan to oblige member states to recognise the rights of same-sex parents granted elsewhere in the bloc.