Identity at risk without Schengen -Renzi

Premier says EU finished unless strategy changes

(ANSA) - New York, February 9 - Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has said that Europe's identity will be in danger if the Schengen border-free system collapses. "I'm worried about the possibility that Schengen could end," Renzi said in an interview with Bloomberg. "The European identity is at risk without Schengen". The system covering most of the EU is under pressure due to the refugee crisis and the threat of Islamist terrorism.
    Renzi said the problem of asylum seekers will be the key test for the European Union in the next 12 months.
    "We need an agreement with the African countries to develop infrastructures and invest in those places," Renzi added. Renzi also warned that the European Union will not survive unless it changes direction. "If Europe does not change its vision and its strategy, it is finished," Renzi said in the interview with Bloomberg. The leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) reiterated his call for the EU to focus on growth and reduce bureaucracy. He also commented on the prospect of Britain voting to exit the European Union in a referendum to be held before the end of next year.
    "A Brexit would be terrible for the United Kingdom but I'm betting on (British Prime Minister) David (Cameron)," Renzi said. Cameron has said he will campaign for Britain to stay in the union if he gets an agreement on a reforms and changes to the UK's relationship with the EU. "We cannot afford to not reach an agreement at the February 18-19 summit, which could cause the UK to leave the EU," Renzi said. "The proposed changes are a good compromise".