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Renzi discuss global, European issues with Britain's Blair

Two centre-left figures meet over fish dinner in London

02 April, 13:09
Renzi discuss global, European issues with Britain's Blair (See related) (ANSA) - London, April 2 - Premier Matteo Renzi said Wednesday he had a "very pleasant" dinner with former British Labour prime minister Tony Blair where the two centre-left figures discussed peace in the Middle East as well as European issues.

The pair met face to face Tuesday evening, shortly after Blair returned from Cairo, where he has been informally involved in promoting peace in region generally and Egypt in particular.

The meeting was "very pleasant" said Renzi, who has been compared with the charismatic young Blair who achieved a Labour landslide after years of Conservative dominance, and plotted a 'Third Way' that combined conservative economic policies with left-wing social positions.

Renzi has encouraged the comparisons by referring to Blair and his work, often quoting the Briton, and Blair has been reportedly interested in the Italian premier and his fast-paced reform efforts for Italy. Blair had previously praised Renzi's approach, saying after the Italian premier took office in February that he has what it takes to help Italy.

"The challenges are absolutely formidable, but Matteo is dynamic, creative and strong enough to make it," Blair said in February. "He has the right combination of realism and idealism for the times we are living in," the Labour Party politician said.

Renzi was scheduled to participate in an editorial board meeting later Wednesday at the Financial Times newspaper before heading to Brussels for a European Union summit on Africa.

During his visit to London Renzi, who also meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, said that he heard a message of "hope" from senior business and financial leaders interested in investing in Italy.