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Italian premier criticizes Euroskeptics as speaking nonsense

Letta says Europe should dare to dream of being a positive force

09 December, 12:48
Italian premier criticizes Euroskeptics as speaking nonsense (ANSA) - Milan, December 9 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta denounced Euroskeptics as speaking nonsense Monday while urging proponents of a united Europe to dream of becoming a strong, positive force in the world.

"The world has completely changed," and Europe must decide what its role will be and how best to use its influence, Letta said during a speech at an Italian-Slovenian Investment Forum.

"Europe must be united" and prepared to use its "soft power" in the world, particularly against "rising giants" from emerging countries, said Letta, who called for a different and improved path for Europe. In the coming decade, said Letta, "Europe must decide whether to be decisive and influential," or divided and irrelevant.

At the same time, he denounced Euroskeptics, such as Italy's Northern League, which elected Matteo Salvini as its new national secretary on the weekend.

Letta criticized politicians who build their platforms on chauvinism towards other Europeans.

"Stop and look at the (tiny amount) of difference that there is between us and the Germans, between us and the French, between us and the British - it is pure myopia in the face of an enormous global challenge," said Letta.

"It can help you to win an election, but eventually (you) build only rubble". Such attitudes are "disastrously short-sighted" but have gained power as the economic crisis that has shaken the world, and hit Europe especially hard, has frightened many into supporting nationalist parties, he warned.