The Italian Lira was abandoned over six thousand days ago, since January 2002, replaced by the euro. In a large part of Europe money exchange is no longer required for cash payments or financial transactions. The business world started to get accustomed with the single currency three years before its adoption, whilst using two currencies. The export capacity of the best corporations faced no competitive devaluations. After initial difficulties, which fostered unjustified price increases, even senior citizens became familiar with the new coins and the iridescent ECB banknotes. Whether in cash or via electronic money services, the value of the euro currency is undisputed.
The young generations hardly remember Italy’s 500 liras, or the image on the 10 thousand Italian Lira banknotes, and they appreciate facilitated purchases of European goods and services with the single currency.
Today there’s no need of a calculator to find out whether a hotel, a flight fare or a concert is expensive. This can’t be said for neighbouring Countries such as Switzerland or the United Kingdom. In addition to saving exchange rate expenses, consumers have the advantage of immediately comparing the costs of economically convenient items and they benefit from greater competitiveness of goods and services (telephone service providers, flight fares and much more), while public debt interest rates remain low.
Now the question is: why did a government’s formation stumble on the high risk of anti-European, anti-Euro radical positions, to the extent of causing alarm amidst foreign investors? Why was the appointment of the new Minister of Finances vetoed on the suspicion of having a secret plan to rapidly leave the euro and return to the Lira? Given the average age (50 years) of the government chaired by Giuseppe Conte, with a 31-year-old Vice- Prime Minister, it’s certainly not a matter of numismatic nostalgia. The analysis of the March 4 election showed that 60% of under-45 Italian citizens voted for one of the two government-coalition political parties (see Demopolis and other opinion polls).
The latest surveys, carried out at the end of May (IPR Marketing, Euromedia, SWG, IPSOS and other polling agencies) show that a large population majority want the single currency, with a stronger percentage among Five Star Movement voters compared to League voters. Albeit by a thin margin, single currency performance is preferred over a Europe of regulations.
It is no coincidence that exiting the single currency is not mentioned in the Programme Contract, which however contains criticism against the EU.
The Euro enjoys considerable popular support, but the same cannot be said for united Europe; almost as if it were possible – and it isn’t – to separate the moderate efficiency of the European currency from its framework of common regulations and bitter medicines, directives and restrictions, great collective projects and national debts, funding and bureaucracies. The Euro is the product of a culture of central banks, the solidity of pro-labour development comes first.
The political use of the single currency is under attack: the common obligation to solidity can determine more or less independent decisions on the part of peripheral Countries striving for growth (see Greece), to the advantage of stronger economies.
Voters worldwide are rewarding those who proclaim “territory-first.” From the US to Brexit, from Hungary to many more world countries.
A reality with no Europe and no euro currency would severely impact freedom of movement
Thirty-one years have gone by since the first Erasmus program (European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) entailing the mobility of 4 million students across Europe, 10% of whom are Italian, with the participation of their families. Erasmus has given youths the opportunity to add international travels experiences, religious and secular alike, to their academic studies. The culture of encounter “without borders”, which precedes the euro currency, grew stronger over the past 15 years with increasing EU funding. A “Made in Europe” system that extends beyond national borders, just as a large part of “Made in Italy”.