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Grillo ramps up call for referendum on euro, EU membership

Wants Italy to follow Britain's lead

02 April, 18:35
Grillo ramps up call for referendum on euro, EU membership (ANSA) - Rome, April 2 - Beppe Grillo of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) on Wednesday upped his call for Italy to have a referendum on whether the country should continue to have the euro as its currency and stay in the European Union.

Writing on his blog, the fulcrum of his Internet-based party, the comic-turned-politician said Italians must be given the final word on whether the euro is still "feasible and legitimate".

"Italy lost its monetary sovereignty without consulting its citizens," added the leader of Italy's second-largest party. Grillo has been pushing for a referendum on the single currency since last year. In Italy it is possible to call a referendum by collecting 500,000 signatures in a petition if the Constitutional Court rules that the proposal is line with the Constitution.

Grillo says Italy should follow the lead of Britain, after Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017.

His opponents accuse him of stirring up anti-Euro and anti-austerity sentiment ahead of European Parliament elections on May 25, in which the M5S and Euroskeptic parties like it are expected to do well.