EU may explode mainly due to wrong economic policies but foremost because it betrayed its principles “which are not economic ones,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said at the year-end press conference on Tuesday.
Italian news agency, ANSA, said that Renzi told Italian citizens that “If 2015 was the year of reform, 2016 will be the year of values.” The Italian Premier emphasized that government’s 2016 budget law “puts money in schools, universities, culture and the civil service.”
According to ANSA, Renzi stressed that the choices of the Italian government to invest in education, culture and coherence goes in the opposite direction to the EU, which may explode due to economic reasons and because it has betrayed its principles “which are not economic ones.”
Renzi stressed that the rise of extremism in Europe, pointing out the rise of the extreme-right Front National in France, is mainly because of EU’s economic policies which “feeds demagogic forces.”
Europe “is growing less because it has chosen a mistaken economic policy – Obama’s policies have led America out of recession, European ones haven’t,” Renzi pointed out and added. “The right track has not been chosen – that of flexibility, growth and investments.”
Renzi also said that his government is trying to enforce Italy’s role at the international stage. The Italian Premier said that Italy did not count in foreign policy, as the Italian diplomats were “never even touched the ball (of the international stage)…we were not invited to the Iran meetings,” he stressed.
“Now we can sit at those tables – in Vienna over Syria, in Rome over Libya,” Renzi proudly said. Moreover, he emphasized that relations with the United States have never been better. However, Renzi also underlined that Italy strongly believes that “part of the world also needs Russia” to solve international problems.
Regarding the European refugee crisis, the Italian Premier called the EU to include people coming from Afghanistan in the asylum seekers list, and not perceive them as economic migrants. He also said that Italy can handle migrant arrivals on its own, but still Europe needs to adopt a unified asylum policy.
“Italy can go it alone (regarding the refugee handling),” Renzi said and added. “A country of 60 million can relatively easily (process) 150,000 arrivals this year, 170,000 last year – Italy does not have a numerical problem on which it needs help from Europe. The point is that we must have a unified framework, a European asylum policy,” he said.
Referendum and constitutional reforms
Renzi also called the Italian citizens to support the Constitutional reform law in the October 2016 referendum. The reforms promoted by the government and approved by the Senate, are changing the Italian Constitution and therefore must be approved by the Italian people.
“If I lose that referendum it means my policies have failed,” the premier said of the reform that weakens the powerful Senate and simplifies the policy-making process.
He also praised the electoral reform bill saying it is “a parliamentary masterpiece” and will provide political stability. The so-called Italicum bill is designed to promote stability by ensuring the next general election produces a clear winner. “This government represents a 4-0 victory of politics over populism,” Renzi said and added “the result, thanks also to (our) Senate and electoral reform, is a solid and stable country.”