UK Has Everything to Lose From Europe: Grillo

Kiran Moodley, special to CNBC.com
Friday, 17 May 2013 | 8:09 AM ET
Beppe Grillo: I Was Impressed by Farage
Beppe Grillo, founder of the Five Star Movement in Italy, tells CNBC how Britain has everything to lose from the EU and why he sympathizes with UKIP.

The leader of Italy's major anti-establishment movement, Beppe Grillo, says Britain has "everything to lose from Europe," as he applauded U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage and welcomed a referendum in the U.K. on EU membership.

Grillo, the comedian-turned-politician whose "Five Star Movement" won 25.5 percent of the vote in Italy's February election, heaped praise on Nigel Farage in a CNBC interview.

Farage and his eurosceptic party made significant gains in local election in the U.K. earlier this month.

"I've never met Nigel Farage," Grillo told CNBC. "But I've followed him online. He is an extraordinary orator: he uses very violent words in Parliament. He founded his own movement, which is going very well. He is a real eurosceptic."

Grillo's campaign in Italy has heaped scorn on Italy's traditional political system and called for direct democracy. Party candidates for the "Five Star Movement" were chosen through Internet primaries.

(Read More: Italian Government 'History' as 'Virus' Spreads: Grillo)

"Cameron wasn't wrong when he said he would hold a referendum on whether to stay in Europe, because staying in Europe for them isn't convenient," Grillo told CNBC.

"They have their stock exchange, their pound, their fiscal paradises, their fiscal treatment, so it is clear they have everything to lose from Europe. But it's not Cameron who decides, it will be the English through a referendum.This looks to me like real democracy."

(Read More: UK Publishes Draft Bill on EU Referendum)

The rise of Grillo and Farage in Italy and Britain respectively is part of an ever-increasing number of eurosceptics from both the left- and right-wing of European politics.


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