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As the European Union begins to disintegrate, who can provide the leadership to save it?Where can a Europe disillusioned with German leadership now turn?That leaves Italy, a country that, having dominated Europe's politics and culture for most of its history, is now treated as "peripheral".As a result, consumer and business confidence in Italy have rebounded to the highest level in 15 years, credit conditions have improved and Italy is the only G-7 country expected by the IMF to grow faster in 2016 than 2015, albeit still at an inadequate 1 percent rate.Financial markets immediately rewarded Italy for its defiance, with the share price of the country's biggest bank, Unicredit, jumping by 25 percent in three days.Given the failures of German leadership in Europe and the political vacuum elsewhere in the EU, Italy's decision to raise its profile is surely right.
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