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ANSA/ EU parliament speaker 'hopes Renzi govt will be stable'

For the sake of both Italy and Europe, Schulz tells ANSA

18 February, 15:55
ANSA/ EU parliament speaker 'hopes Renzi govt will be stable' (By Claudio Accogli) (ANSA) - Rome, February 18 - European Parliament Speaker Martin Schulz on Tuesday expressed the hope that the Renzi government would bring stability to Italy. In an interview with ANSA, he said that "I hope this for Europe, as well, since in the second half of 2014 Italy will take on the EU presidency. All of us hope that the country will have a stable and strong government".

Q. The new government will presumably focus on growth and not on austerity. How does the EU see the formation of a new government? A. We are not worried about the ministries of the new government. We hope that it will be strong, with broad parliamentary consensus: these are the preconditions for a government that solves problems. Italy is a G8 nation and the fourth largest European economy, so growth means stability for Europe. We clearly support any measure to ensure growth in Italy, and at the EU level we have to think about how to support the country's recovery. Q. In late February the Party of European Socialists (PES) congress will be held. What approach do you think should be used towards 'radical' and/or Eurosceptic voters? A. The aim of all parties is to convince the most voters possible through their programs. As concerns votes going to 'radical' parties, we especially as socialists should keep in mind that people often vote for them because they've lost hope; because they are angry and feel abandoned by public institutions, even European ones. If you speak to these people you find out that they are very reasonable. As soon as they understand that the institutions are looking after their needs, their specific problems, we can regain the support of those believing that the political system is wrapped up in itself, that it doesn't care about their problems, their children or their wages. Q. The EU is often criticized for a lack of influence at the international level in dealing with the Syrian conflict.

Will steps be taken for European joint military forces? A. I believe that the idea of a European army is still far off. I think we have other problems in the EU right now. We should first of all deal with youth employment, as there are countries in which an entire generation is paying the price in terms of a lack of life opportunities due to a crisis created by others. This is unacceptable. Struggling against youth unemployment should be a priority, at the national and European levels. We have billions and billions of euros to bail out banks...let's say, ok, credit institutes are important for our system, but our young people do not have jobs. This is unacceptable. Most employment flourishes in start-ups and in small- and medium-sized enterprises. We must foster this part of the economy. If we do so, we will see growth and higher employment. This is what the EU must do, and we, I support governments in applying this policy line. If the Renzi government takes this direction, we will support it. Enrico Letta, in my opinion, made very important progress by getting Italy out of the European procedure for excessive deficit. This paved the way for creating possibilities for public investment, and is something that Renzi can benefit from.

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