Mattarella to address U.S. Congress

Renzi says Europe finished unless strategy changes

(by Stefania Fumo).
    (ANSA) - Washington, February 9 - President Sergio Mattarella told U.S. journalists in Washington Tuesday that Europe can't solve the migrant crisis by hiding behind national borders, but through integration.
    "It's an illusion to think you can solve your problems by hunkering down inside national borders", he said at a working breakfast with leading American journalists.
    "Global problems can't be solved" this way, he said on what is his third day of a United States visit that also included lunch with Vice President Joe Biden and meetings with House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi, and other US lawmakers.
    He was echoed by Premier Matteo Renzi, who said Europe's very identity will be in danger if the Schengen border-free system collapses in the face of the refugee crisis and the threat of Islamic terrorism. "I'm worried about the possibility that Schengen could end," Renzi told Bloomberg News in an interview. "The European identity is at risk without Schengen". 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 said, warning 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, reiterating his call for the EU to focus on growth and cut 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 reforms and changes to the UK's relationship with the EU. "Europe without growth is destined to vanish, Europe without values is destined to perish," Renzi wrote on his e-newsletter later in the day.
    "The European question...does not mean banging one's fists on the table, but recalling Europe to its own destiny, its own vocation," Renzi wrote.