During the last six months Europe has been going through “a profound change in terms of direction, but not in terms of concrete actions yet” while the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has the “colour and flavour of an opportunity”. Such was the statement of Matteo Renzi, who gave a speech for the end of the Italian Semester before the European Parliament in Strasbourg; he also highlighted that “either Europe changes its economic strategy or we will be at the tail end of a rapidly changing world”.
The Italian Prime Minister, who paid tribute to the President of the Republic of Italy Giorgio Napolitano “a committed pro-European who is retiring from office in these very hours”, stated that “we are heading in the right direction, but we should do more. We are ready to play our part, to believe in the investment in flexibility”.
Italy contributed to save States
"Italian citizens – stressed the Italian premier – should be much more aware of one fact: over the last years we have provided Europe with much more resources than those we received: we gave around 20 billion euros and we received less than half of that amount”. Italy – remarked the Prime Minister – contributed to save not only friendly countries but also their banks, not out of generosity but because it believes in European institutions. It did so without asking one single euro for its credit institutions”, which led to their recapitalisation after the stress tests. “ Italy – continued the Prime Minister – is not asking for help but offering a great history, which began much earlier than when the Treaty of Rome was signed. Italy believes in Europe, a great place of hope for the new generations, and we are aware of the fact that we should tackle our problems at home”.
“A soul to Europe”
“We tried to give a soul to Europe. For us Europe is freedom, not a fortress but a square, not a place of conflict and clashes but a place of dialogue and encounter” stated the Prime Minister; he then made a specific reference to the relationship between identity and integration and said that “when someone thinks of defending our identity by closing ourselves in fortresses in the name of security, we have to say that freedom is a precondition for security. The opposite of identity is not integration but anonymity. The opposite of integration is disintegration, rupture, destruction”.