Premier Matteo Renzi said Tuesday that the problem of mapping out the future direction of the European Union is bigger than the Greek debt crisis. “I’m about to go to Brussels for the umpteenth debate on Europe,” Renzi told Italian scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratory in Geneva. “But there’s a problem that’s bigger than the Greek emergency – the problem of what kind of Europe we want in the future,” he said.
“All our intelligence is needed to build a political Europe, not just an economic one”.
On his way in to to a eurozone summit on the Greek financial crisis in Brussels later in the day, the premier told journalists that he is “more concerned about the EU than about the fate of a single country”. “I’m not all that worried about a technical solution on Greece, which I think can be found prettily easily,” the premier said. “I’m a little more concerned about finding a political outlook for Europe, which right now isn’t working”. Renzi went on to reiterate his call for “more growth, more future, more innovation”.
“With a bit of good will an accord (on Greece) can be found…probably not today but in the next few hours,” the premier said.
“I believe Greek leaders are interested in staying in the euro, but the rules must be followed,” he added. “They can be interpreted flexibly, but they must be followed.” Renzi went on to say that “I understand there’s an ongoing Truman Show in the media that is only talking about Greece, but we need a…debate on the future of Europe”.
In Geneva earlier in the day, the premier said Italians will be called to a referendum next year to judge ongoing constitutional reforms.
“In 2016 we’ll have (the referendum) to see what reforms citizens like, or don’t,” he said. A reform is currently going through parliament to strip the Senate of most of its lawmaking powers, turning it into a smaller body of regionally elected officials. Structural reforms “are our business” and “we are undertaking them at a speed that would have been unexpected and incomprehensible up till a short time ago,” the premier said. “We’ll keep this commitment and bring home the results,” he said, citing the need “to make Italy a simpler country” by slashing red tape for business, making the labour market more flexible and passing “an electoral law that means a change of government every five years instead of every three months”. Things that don’t work need to be changed “with a machete,” Renzi continued. “We have been doing so, and we need to keep doing it even more”. The premier added that however, “there is also an Italy that works and that looks towards Europe…I would like to ask you to look to the future with more conviction”. “Italy makes a large contribution in terms of human and economic resources to institutions such as CERN,” Renzi said in a post on his Facebook page. “We need to stop beating ourselves and instead see the great things that our country is able to do in the world,” he added. “Courage, Italy”.