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The Image of Crisis-Ridden Europe and the Division Between Creditor and Debtor Countries: The Case of Italy


The eurozone's debt crisis has exposed structural economic and political rifts within the European Union. Specifically, it has created a new cleavage between creditor and debtor countries, the former being mainly located in Central-Northern Europe and the latter in Southern Europe, each with its own understanding of the causes of and remedies to the risis. This paper explores how a debtor country - Italy - has changed its political discourse on the EU as a result of the crisis, focusing on political elites, civil society and public opinion. It argues that while the discourse of political elites and of civil society clearly mirrors this cleavage, public opinion does not necessarily follow this pattern, being mainly concerned with the country’s domestic ills.