Covid-19: Italy condems the EU as 'dead'
There is once agian growing frustration and anger at the European Union - this time over its coronavirus response. This comes as Italy threatened to quit the bloc and Portugal lashed out at "repugnant" EU member-states.
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked another unprecedented crisis throughout the European Union, with a huge rift erupting between member-states.
This week's failure to agree a joint EU economic response to the crisis has already set off a wave of furious criticism from leaders in Italy, Portugal and Spain.
France24 revealed that angry exchanges between EU leaders took place during the six-hour video conference call, with "intense disagreements" sparking a furious row.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told other EU leaders that the "European project" is at stake, while Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte questioned whether the EU was "truly adapted to a war".
The French broadcaster claimed that even German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted the arguments threatened the stability of Europe.
Following the heated exchanges, Italian newspaper headlines condemned the EU response, describing Brussels as "dead" and "ugly".
Former Italian Prime Minister and main opposition leader Matteo Salvini said Italy should consider leaving the European Union once the country wins its fight against the outbreak.
On Friday he tweeted: “First let's beat the virus, then think about Europe again. And, if necessary, say goodbye. Without even thanking it."
He said that two weeks of more debate would take place "while people die," before comparing the EU to a "den of snakes and jackals".
Italian Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli also condemned the lack of unity: "They want us to get into debt so they can punish us."
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa picked out the Dutch as the main hurdle, describing their rejection of the proposal as "repugnant".