08:43 GMT28 March 2020
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    The vast majority of Italians believe that the current debt crisis in Greece has seriously weakened the European Union due to the bloc's inability to come up with a solution on how to unite member states, a poll by Ipsos Italia published Saturday revealed.

    ROME (Sputnik) According to the poll, conducted for the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper, 72 percent of Italians note serious weakening of the EU institutions amid the current situation in Greece. Only 14 percent believe otherwise.

    According to Nando Pagnoncelli, head of Ipsos Italia, the situation was prompted by the fact that the European integration was “focused more on economic issues than on the issues such as jobs, education and research, healthcare, pensions, environment and immigration, which are the most sensitive for the people.”

    Pagnoncelli said that the Greek referendum, scheduled to take place Sunday, will be a serious challenge to the EU institutions regardless of its outcome.

    Still, the poll results suggest that the majority – or 53 percent of Italians – believe that Athens and the European Union will be able to come to an agreement no matter what the vote outcome will be. Only 31 percent say that Greece is likely to default and leave the Eurozone.

    Greece's overall debt to international creditors stands at about $350 billion, of which $270 billion is owed to the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and eurozone countries.

    On Sunday, Greek voters will go to a referendum to decide whether Greece should accept the lenders-proposed bailout plan that envisages serious spending cuts and tax increases.

    The country’ leadership, including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, find the bailout conditions “humiliating” and call on citizens to vote "No," so as to strengthen the country's positions in negotiations to come.


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