"If Europe was to take a selfie today, it would be a tired, resigned image," said Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi in a debate with MEPs on his country's priorities for the Council presidency for the next six months. He said European leaders should act with conviction and determination to keep Europe in the lead on global issues. The debate on 2 July touched upon a broad range of issues, from the Italian contribution to Europe through the ages to the place of Europe in a fast-changing world. He said Europe needs to be part of ongoing exciting global processes and not lock itself within its borders.
Mr Renzi acknowledged that the crisis had left all of us with a "deep wound", saying Europe faced a challenge to rediscover its soul, history and values. Referring to the Stability and Growth pact, he said: "We now have stability. We are asking for growth to be a fundamental element of European policy."
You can watch the full speech of Matteo Renzi at the European Parliament on 2 July here
Commonspace.eu political editor said "Italy's presidency of the EU is the first opportunity for the young and recently appointed Prime Minister to make his mark on the world stage. Renzi's speech to the European Parliament was well received well beyond the Parliament Chambers. It struck a cord, especially with Europe's youth. It was the speech of a confident and articulate politician, in tune with the modern world, and with a vision of the challenges and solutions ahead. Italians have also only recently discovered Renzi, and liked him. His move from Mayor of Florence to the Premiership in Rome came at a particularly low moment in Italian politics. Renzi has however given Italians a new hope. His party had the most convincing victory of all the established political parties in Europe in the recent elections for the European Parliament. Italy still has many serious economic and political challenges in front of it, but Renzi's performance at the European Parliament yesterday has sent a clear message that a new Italy is rising, one that is confident to be in the leadership of Europe for the next six months."
source: commonspace.eu with italia2014.eu
photo: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on the plane preparing his speech to the European Parliament on 2 July 2014 (picture courtesy of the web site of the Italian Presidency of the EU www.italia2014.eu).