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Renzi, Cameron see eye to eye on need to revamp EU

Italian wins backing for reforms from British counterpart

01 April, 18:52
Renzi, Cameron see eye to eye on need to revamp EU (ANSA) - London, April 1 - Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on the need to overhaul the European Union, with the former saying it has become a hotbed of bureaucracy during a bilateral meeting in London Tuesday.

Renzi also won a strong endorsement from Cameron for his ambitious programme to reform Italy's slow, expensive political apparatus and reverse the path of decline its economy seems to have taken in recent years. Conservative Party leader Cameron said he supported Renzi's "ambitious measures" adding that: "Europe is behind Asia. There must be reforms in Brussels too". Cameron said he backed the direction Renzi wanted to push Europe towards during Italy's duty presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. "The Italian presidency is extremely important," Cameron said. "Matteo wants to make growth and jobs the central issues and we agree".

The 39-year-old, Italy's youngest-ever premier, won a similar endorsement at a meeting with United States President Barack Obama on Thursday. Renzi called for "a better Europe, not more Europe", adding that Italy "must do its part" and "fight against those who are afraid of change". "Recently Europe has lost its dream-like quality and become only the place of absolute bureaucracy," he said. "The first challenge to tackle is the vision of Europe that the next generation will have. This is only possible if it has a different idea about economic growth".

Cameron is a big critic of the EU too and, while saying he wants Britain to stay in it, has promised a referendum on membership if his Conservative party win next year's general election.

Renzi urged Britain to remain in the union.

There is no Europe, there is no great Europe without the presence of the United Kingdom," he told a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"The presence of the UK in Europe should not be in discussion. It is absolutely fundamental and crucial for us and we will work together, I am sure of it," Renzi said.