İrem UZUN -TDO- An Italian senator has launched a political party that aims to take Italy out of the European Union, just after Rome clinched a huge coronavirus recovery fund deal with the bloc.

Gianluigi Paragone, a former TV journalist, presented his "Italexit" party on Thursday, two days after a London meeting with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who was instrumental in Britain's vote to quit the EU. “We can no longer be blackmailed by countries that offend the great prestige of Italy,” Paragone said, adding that only a “really sovereign state”, like Britain, can address the economic crisis the pandemic has provoked. Paragone pointed to a survey by the Piepoli Institute from the end of June, which found that around seven percent of Italians would be likely to vote for a party campaigning to leave the EU. "Consensus will only grow further, in line with the lies Europe tells us," he said.

Political analyst and poll expert Renato Mannheimer said Italians’ feelings on the EU had “swung widely over the past few month,though we remain the country that trusts Brussels the least”. A perceived initial failure on the bloc’s part to respond quickly to the coronavirus pandemic in Italy enraged and disappointed the population, but since then, support for the EU has risen again, he said. A 750-billion-euro recovery package agreed by EU leaders, with a large slice earmarked for Italy, would boost support further. “Most Italians don’t want to leave the EU. Only around 30 percent - rising to 40 percent in some moments - say yes to leaving,” Mannheimer told AFP. “I don’t believe Paragone’s party can build a large enough following for Italexit,” he added.

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