Rome

Beppe Grillo calls M5S 'French revolution' w/out guillotine

Tells Handelsblatt wants online referendum in Italy on euro

Beppe Grillo calls M5S 'French revolution' w/out guillotine

Rome, March 13 - Beppe Grillo, leader of the Italian 5-Star Movement (M5S), called his populist and anti-establishment group's hand in Italy's current political uncertainty a "French revolution" but that Europe "should not be afraid", in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt published Wednesday. Grillo also challenged Germans to explain why its country's economy is uniquely thriving in the eurozone. M5S's strong 25% voter-support at Italy's parliament election in late February has thrown Italian government transition into gridlock. "Europe shouldn't be afraid," said the movement leader, who explained that what is needed is a "strong inversion and more democracy". Grillo, whose political rallying tactics are based on Internet forums and street gatherings, proposed holding an "online referendum" on whether Italy should remain in the single currency, "just as there should have been a vote on the Lisbon treaty" - themes on which, he claims "our (Italian) constitution was ignored". "We are the French revolution, without the guillotine," Grillo declared, but then clarified that he is not anti-Europe. "I only said that I wanted a plan B for Europe. We must ask ourselves what has happened to Europe, why is there no common information policy, no common tax policy, no common immigration policy, and why only Germany has enriched itself," Grillo explained. "Italy is de facto already out of the euro," Grillo continued, saying northern European countries will keep Italy in the eurozone only "until their banks get their investments back on Italian treasury bonds; then they'll let us fall like a hot potato".

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