Italy: Leading the Charge in Europe’s North-South Divide

Though the European Union has attempted to rise to the occasion, it may be too little too late.

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As the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold of Europe, the deep divide between northern and southern states has intensified. The outbreak has spurred a recession. The International Monetary Fund forecasts a 13 percent bump in eurozone debt this year alone, with indebted southern countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece taking the largest toll. This will be the second recession to hit Southern Europe in a little over a decade, as countries are still recovering from the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and the 2008 recession. The popular belief is that northern countries will likely experience faster recovery rates, widening the wealth gap between northern and southern economies as Southern Europe shoulders heavier long-term debt. Tension between the European Union’s northern and southern members is not new, and GPF has examined the north-south divide before. Now, the coronavirus and its accompanying recession have intensified north-south disagreements over debt issuance and financial assistance, emerging as a potent threat to not only EU consensus but the European project itself. Italy Appeals to the EU Southern Europe has grown increasingly loud in its demands for unconditional EU financial assistance and medical supplies in the wake of the pandemic. At the helm of southern […]

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Caroline D. Rose
Caroline Rose has a Masters of Science (MSc) in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Just before joining GPF she served as a Research Associate for LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), where she researched the nexus between illicit economies and armed insurgencies. She earned her undergraduate degree from American University's School of International Service and has worked previously at both Brookings Institute and the Atlantic Council. Her studies and projects at these institutions covered a range of topics, from Russian and Chinese cyber warfare, evolving American interest within a changing international order, and grand security strategies against state-led revisionism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Throughout she's written for a diverse array of publications including Limes in Italy.