Renzi reports to parliament

Premier back from trip to Argentina

(ANSA) - Rome, February 17 - Premier Matteo Renzi told the Senate ahead of a February 18-19 EU summit on Wednesday that the Union's dilemma is whether to become a community or continue being just a contract.
    "There are various dossiers on the agenda of the EU summit tomorrow, from the British referendum to immigration," the premier said.
    "But the central issue is one - whether in the next few years Europe returns to being a community or whether it will be just a contract," he said.
    The EU must help Italy on migrants, Renzi said. "Those who aren't entitled to a welcome must be sent home...but if the EU does the repatriation it's one thing, if it's the individual States it's another." He said Italy had repatriated more people than any other country but "it's a commonly held view that it's not enough". Renzi added that "there must be a single right to asylum, it's not possible to have separate rules". As well, he said "every possible effort" must be made to keep Britain within the EU and that he is "in favor of a compromise...I believe Italy should stick to the centrality of the euro". In a separate address to the Lower House, the premier told lawmakers that budget flexibility "is the only way to face reality". "Flexibility is not an Italian request," he said. "Let's first decide on an economic direction, and then whether or not we need an (EU) economy minister". He slammed the "silence of the managerial classes during the austerity years and over that historic passage when parliament - for incidental reasons - approved tax rules so devastating no country can allow itself to respect them without killing the economy".
    Italy is entitled to get percentage points more of budget flexibility without banging its fists on the table, he added. "We have the lowest deficit in the last 10 years, we are third for containing debt after Germany and the Netherlands," he said. Renzi said "Spain and the UK lowered funding it with the deficit". The Senate later approved a majority resolution on the February 18-19 European Union summit. The resolution, on Renzi's statements on the summit, was passed with 166 ayes, 85 nays and three abstaining. Renzi earlier called on the EU to do more on the migrant emergency and to turn from austerity to growth policies.