Next Country To Leave EU Odds: Italy Tipped Ahead Greece
Betting sites reckon Italy is the most likely nation to next leave the European Union following the election of right-wing prime minister Giorgia Meloni.
No state has left the EU since the UK broke away from the trading bloc in January 2020.
Since then, the country has picked through a string of economic and social sticking points with the European Union, and there appears no end in sight to the wrangling.
Issues over migration, trade, access to Europe-wide initiatives and the Northern Ireland border have dogged negotiations ever since the UK voted 52-48 in favour of Leave.
Some experts predicted that Brexit would trigger a tidal wave of member states withdrawing from the EU - but for now the union remains at 27 countries. And bookmakers aren’t exactly gearing up for a mass exodus.
The latest odds suggest a few choice states may one day seek to leave - but right now the focus is on holding together, particularly in the face of Russian aggression.
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Indeed, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has only strengthened ties among member states.
While Vladimir Putin hoped the war would cause fractions across Europe, the likes of France and Germany have generally steadied the ship and led a unified voice - even if it cost them dearly by cutting fuel imports from Russia.
Germany recently agreed - after much persuasion - to send tanks to the Ukrainian battlefield to help the invaded country fight Putin’s war machine.
It’s expected that a fresh invasion will occur in the spring, at which point the EU will again have to hold its nerve.
The union is being tested to the limit right now, but UK bookmakers don’t see much correlation between the war and which countries could opt to leave.
Indeed, domestic matters remain the most likely reason why any member state would opt to surrender its seat at the table.
Here, we look at which countries the best online betting sites think could leave the EU.
Meloni’s election in the autumn of 2022 was a big win for the right in Italy.
Her Brothers of Italy government was expected to face up to the EU and potentially seek a referendum like that witnessed in the UK in 2016, but it never happened.
In fact, Meloni has been fairly close to EU policy for now. Her “EU-friendly budget” has been the flagship of her first 100 days in office, with €21bn pledged in tax breaks and a push to lower the retirement age.
She’s even courted EU president Ursula von der Leyen in an effort to secure more post-Covid funds for her country.
So why are political betting sites still making Italy 3/1 favourites to leave the union first?
Well, it's partly because there are few alternatives, and there is also an expectation that Brothers of Italy will swing further to the right ahead of the next Italian election in 2027, and when the Russian invasion of Ukraine ceases.
Bookmakers are playing the long game here when it comes to Italy leaving the EU.
Never too far away from flirting with an EU exit, Greece is less likely to opt out of the union as be forced out by other member states.
Greece has endured its economic woes in recent years and was arguably saved by EU quantitative easing a decade or so back.
Greece has withdrawn from the EU’s so-called “enhanced surveillance framework” that monitors its economy.
This supposedly gives the country more freedom to make financial choices, but the EU will be watching closely.
Grexit didn’t happen when it was supposed to, and it looks unlikely in the coming years at 6/1 with Betfair.
Bookmakers cut Poland’s odds of leaving the EU when Putin ordered Russian troops to advance across Ukraine.
But very quickly the odds shifted again, as Poland turned to the EU for backing in case an invasion on its soil was imminent.
Granted, the country has been in a political stand-off with the European Commission over Covid relief funds not being granted to the state unless it changes its court system.
Mateusz Morawiecki has said his country won’t be held hostage to the union. But this is small-fry disagreements compared to the unity found in defying Russia.
Poland is highly unlikely to vote to leave the EU now or at any time in the future and it’s a surprise the country’s 7/1 odds with Paddy Power haven’t inflated further.
The European Union project would likely collapse in on itself if France ever voted to quit.
A cornerstone member of the union, the threat of “Frexit” comes from the possibility that Marine Le Pen could one-day become president.
Her right-wing National Rally party has come close to victory at the ballot box, but so far Emmanuel Macron has kept ahead of Le Pen in presidential votes.
This could change at the 2027 French election, and were Le Pen to become president it would be interesting to see how she seeks to reshape the EU.
A French withdrawal isn’t likely right now – as the 8/1 price with 10Bet shows - but can’t be ruled out while National Rally remains an electable party.
Just like in France, the Netherlands has an anti-EU opposition that threatens to destabilise the status quo.
Mark Rutte has been the Dutch prime minister since 2010 and has four times seen off populist Geert Wilders’ PVV party.
Wilders was at one stage seen as the biggest threat to EU stability before Nigel Farage’s UKIP rose to prominence.
He is expected to push again for government in 2025, but Dutch politics remains dominated by the VVD and Democrats 66.
Appetite for leaving the EU was never high and that’s unlikely to change any time soon with outside odds of 12/1 available on a Netherlands exit with betting apps.
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