- Italy’s Five Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle or M5S in Italian) has gained massive popularity since it was founded in 2009. The party is described as populist, antiglobalist and Eurosceptic, and has – along with politicians from several other Italian parties – expressed its desire for Italy to give up the Euro as its currency and return to the lira instead. Brussels has insisted that the Euro is irrevocable, and that the only way for Italy to quit the Euro is for the country to leave the EU itself. In an effort to discourage that outcome, Brussels has warned Italy that leaving the union would burden the country with massive bills.
- Greece has been talking about leaving the Eurozone since 2012 and, for several years it seemed like a very real possibility, with the country suffering a severe economic crisis which appeared to make its continued membership of the monetary union untenable. Fortunately for the EU, a bailout referendum held in 2015 prevented that from happening, but the measures taken haven’t actually solved the financial problems faced by the country. On the contrary, the country is still frantically trying to avoid bankruptcy, and Grexit is being proposed by some as a possible solution.
- The Czech Republic joined the EU in May 2004 and, 13 years later, the country is questioning whether or not it should remain as a member. Last summer, Czech President Milos Zeman said that he would be fighting to give the people a referendum on leaving the EU, even though he himself would prefer the country to remain. No such referendum has yet been held or, indeed, scheduled, but there is a soaring sentiment of Euroscepticism and anti-immigration in the nation, and the outcome of any eventual referendum is by no means certain.
- France leaving the EU is being touted as a possibility not just by the right-wing Front National party, but also by the likely winner of the French election, Emmanuel Macron. Whilst Macron has said that he is pro-European and defends the union, he has also said that ‘the dysfunction of the EU is no more sustainable.’ Whilst Macron would undoubtedly prefer to see reform rather than withdrawal from the EU, the French public may have other ideas, given the chance to vote on the matter.
- Sweden, like the UK, refused to embrace the Euro as its currency, preferring instead to retain the krona. Sweden and the UK are alike in several other respects too, and far-right and anti-union politicians have raised their profile by speaking out on immigration, just as Nigel Farage and UKIP rose to prominence with their Brexit message. Whilst there are no current plans for the nation to leave the EU, Sweden will no doubt be watching the UK with interest over the next few years with a view to making their own decision.
There is a case to be made for each of the countries highlighted here leaving the EU, but there are also plenty of arguments for them choosing to remain, so predicting which nation will leave next is not a straightforward matter by any means. It seems sensible to us to focus on nations which may feel driven to leave the EU for economic as well as purely ideological reasons, and in that case Italy and Greece would appear to be the main contenders.
Greece has been bailed out by the EU before, and has arguably benefited more from being in the union than not. Italy, on the other hand, is in the unique position of favouring (and by a significant margin, according to polls) the Five Star Movement party to win the country’s next election in April 2018. Since that party is anti-Euro, and the only way to drop the euro is to leave the EU, Italy just might be the best country to tip as the next to leave the union.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip – Italy – 5/2
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.