Renzi meets EU leaders on reforms in wake of weekend vote

Italian PM suggests new spending on public works important

(ANSA) - Rome, May 27 - Reforms to the European Union in the wake of a weekend vote that saw the rise of Euroskeptic parties in many countries was on the agenda for a summit of EU leaders Tuesday.
    Premier Matteo Renzi was one of the few national leaders in the 28-member EU whose voters did not show strong support for Euroskeptics and nationalist parties, but he said he also supported a renewal of the EU as he headed to the scheduled summit in Brussels.
    Italy may be in a position to push hard for reforms as it assumes the six-month rotating presidency of the EU in July.
    During a televised interview Monday night, Renzi said that the EU must reconsider its policy of strict budget controls and consider making a major investment in public works.
    On the program Porta a Porta, Renzi admitted he was surprised at how well his Democratic Party did in the European Parliament vote on Sunday.
    Renzi's PD took 40.8% of votes, almost double second-place anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) at 21.2%.
    But such a level of voter confidence carries great responsibilities, added Renzi.
    "If I have to be honest, I did not expect a result with such a great proportion," of votes, he said.
    "In some respects, it is almost touching because you have a strong sense of responsibility, you must not miss a shot," Renzi added.
    "We have received the message: now is the time to step up on everything and not to celebrate," he said.


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