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Former Brexit Party MEP and director of the Academy of Ideas, Claire Fox, revealed the biggest problems set to face the European Union and Ursula von der Leyen. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Ms Fox explained some member states, most notably Italy, will be questioning how useful the EU was during the coronavirus crisis. She added this will result in countries questioning what benefits the EU provides for their country.
She explained this could ultimately result in further tensions in the bloc in addition to the divides exposed by economic recovery differences.
Ms Fox said: “In Italy, the attitude towards the EU has changed considerably during the coronavirus issue.
“A lot more people have said, having seen how the EU despicably treated the Italian people, they would now say the EU was a hindrance to Italy’s ability to cope with a crisis rather than a help.
“That is a big overall shift.”
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Ms Fox also reflected on the difficulties the entirety of the European Union has faced during the coronavirus crisis.
She said: “I don’t think the experience of dealing with COVID-19 has been very successful with the EU.
“That is because a lot of the unbreakable rules, that they always say they stand by, have been thrown out of the water.
“People have had to close their borders and freedom of movement has not been possible.
“Also the sort of solidarity where the idea that stronger states will benefit financially weaker states has just not happened at all.
“There has been all sorts of antagonisms thrown up between the different member states.”
Ms Fox also outlined one of the conclusions member states will come to after coronavirus crisis.
She said: “In some ways, this crisis has indicated that when you face a crisis it is actually up to the democratic leadership of those countries to deal with it.
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“In the end, they have responsibility for the people of their country so then you start to question what the EU is for.
“Let alone the fact there is already serious splits because there is going to be an economic crisis for everybody, a depression probably internationally.
“So you then get the richer countries being rather resentful about having to help.
“Being resentful they would have to help some of the countries that have really suffered the most.”
The European Union has come under criticism for its initial reaction to the coronavirus crisis, which left Italian and Spanish politicians furious.
The Brussels bloc is now trying to agree a financial agreement between member states to combat the economic crisis caused by lockdowns across the continent.
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